In the past there was hardly any use of economic instruments in environmental policy, mainly command and control measures were used. More recently, ecological taxes became more popular and voluntary agreements have been proposed and implemented. Thus, the situation has changed at least somewhat, and we must ask what the reasons are for the (partly) new development and the wider acceptance of these instruments. The purpose of this paper is to give some answers on these questions using the Public Choice approach. To do so, we first present the main ideas of this approach to analyse environmental policy. Then we discuss the recent application of traditional market based instruments, environmental taxes and tradable permits as well as the increasing use of voluntary agreements. Taking all arguments together we have to conclude that the use of market based instruments in environmental policy has not increased very much and their impact on the actual situation of the environment is still rather low, but there is hope that there will be at least some further increase in the future. Keywords environmental policy, ecological taxes, tradable permits, voluntary agreements, votin
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