Noise Pollution

Kylie Clancy

In Chapter 3 of Naked Economics, we learn about externalities. Externalities refer to the private and social costs of one’s behavior being different. When there’s a huge gap between the private and social costs of behavior, then people have an incentive to do things to make themselves better off at the expense of others. Although all parties involved in a transaction perform exchanges to make themselves better off, all parties affected by the transaction may not be involved which generates an externality. In addition, externalities can be either positive or negative. For example, a positive externality exists when the private benefit enjoyed from the production or consumption of goods and services are exceeded by the benefits as a whole to the society whereas a negative externality exists when a third party suffers some sort of cost or a loss as a result of a transaction between a buyer and seller in which the third party has no involvement. In a real life situation, for example, an author or a musician can produce work with full confidence that it will be protected, while also benefiting from it. Pharmaceutical companies invest millions in research and development with confidence that a patent will protect their discovery and enable them to profit from their efforts. While there are many positive externalities in our economy, there are also many negative externalities, such as noise pollution. Noise pollution was a huge factor in the 1920’s and 30’s due to technology, economic activity, and an individual’s annoyance.
It all started in 1932, when New York resident, Mr. N Schmuck, wrote a letter to the NYC Noise Abatement Commission, issuing a noise complaint about a nearby pickle factory. It wasn’t until the 70’s when we took noise pollution to a whole new level and decided to interpret it as an environmental threat. Because of its negative effect on society, its social costs include: lower property values, health care costs, and reduced work income due to poor concentration. Before anything, one should always consider confronting the noise issue, first. If nothing is done, one can always issue a complaint to your local authority, or District Court. The principal law relating to noise of Part VI of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is sections 106, 107, and 108. This act is designed for individuals to take their own cases to the District Court without the need for a solicitor. This act gives one a guideline on how to deal with noise pollution in a formal manner. The outline includes many incentives: “Create an outline of what the noise is, when you hear it, how long for, and what effect it is having on you. Be able to outline occasions when you have tried to resolve this issue. Be sure to mention that you had no noise issues with previous occupants. Lastly, be ready for the District Court judge to grant an order.” This negative externality can lead to a positive solution when action is formally taken.

“Cost of Noise Pollution.” Cost of Noise Pollution. Accessed June 15, 2016.

“Difference Between Positive and Negative Externalities.” Difference Between. 2012. Accessed June 15, 2016.

“Naked Economics Summar.” – I Create Things. Accessed June 15, 2016.

“Noise Pollution Creates Negative Externalities.” Econlife. 2014. Accessed June 15, 2016.

“What Do I Do?” What Do I Do? Accessed June 15, 2016.


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