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Voluntary environmental agreements in developing countries: the Colombian experience

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  • Allen Blackman

    ()

  • Eduardo Uribe

    ()

  • Bart Hoof

    ()

  • Thomas Lyon

    ()

Abstract

Voluntary agreements (VAs) negotiated between environmental regulators and polluters are increasingly popular in developing countries. According to proponents, they can sidestep weak institutions and other pervasive barriers to conventional mandatory regulation in such countries. Yet little is known about the drivers of their use and their effectiveness in poor countries. The considerable literature on voluntary initiatives in industrialized countries, where both VAs and socioeconomic conditions differ, may not apply. Using a conceptual framework drawn from the economics literature, we examine four prominent VAs in Colombia, a global leader in the use of this policy. We find that the main motive for using VAs has been to build capacity needed for broader environmental regulatory reform and that partly as a result, VAs’ additional effect on environmental performance has been limited. These findings contrast with those from industrialized country studies, which typically conclude VAs are used as a low-cost substitute for impending mandatory regulation and have few benefits because of weak regulatory pressure. Our findings suggest that in developing countries, VAs may be best suited to capacity building, not environmental management per se. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Policy Sciences.

Volume (Year): 46 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 335-385

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Handle: RePEc:kap:policy:v:46:y:2013:i:4:p:335-385

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102982

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Keywords: Voluntary environmental agreement; Pollution; Colombia;

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References

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  1. Stavins, Robert & Reinhardt, Forest & Vietor, Richard, 2008. "Corporate Social Responsibility through an Economic Lens," Working Paper Series rwp08-023, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  2. Eskeland, Gunnar S & Jimenez, Emmanuel, 1992. "Policy Instruments for Pollution Control in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 7(2), pages 145-69, July.
  3. Andrei Shleifer, 1985. "A Theory of Yardstick Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(3), pages 319-327, Autumn.
  4. Allen Blackman, 2010. "Alternative Pollution Control Policies in Developing Countries," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 4(2), pages 234-253, Summer.
  5. Segerson, Kathleen & Miceli, Thomas J., 1998. "Voluntary Environmental Agreements: Good or Bad News for Environmental Protection?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 109-130, September.
  6. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
  7. John W. Maxwell & Thomas P Lyon & Steven C.. Hackett, 1995. "Self-Regulation and Social Welfare: The Political Economy of Corporate Environmentalism," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 122, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  8. Kalim Shah, 2011. "Strategic organizational drivers of corporate environmental responsibility in the Caribbean hotel industry," Policy Sciences, Springer, vol. 44(4), pages 321-344, November.
  9. Arora, Seema & Gangopadhyay, Shubhashis, 1995. "Toward a theoretical model of voluntary overcompliance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 289-309, December.
  10. Jorge Rivera & Jennifer Oetzel & Peter deLeon & Mark Starik, 2009. "Business responses to environmental and social protection policies: toward a framework for analysis," Policy Sciences, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 3-32, February.
  11. Blackman, Allen & Bannister, Geoffrey J., 1998. "Community Pressure and Clean Technology in the Informal Sector: An Econometric Analysis of the Adoption of Propane by Traditional Mexican Brickmakers," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 1-21, January.
  12. Glachant, Matthieu, 2007. "Non-binding voluntary agreements," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 32-48, July.
  13. repec:reg:wpaper:229 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. David McEvoy & John Stranlund, 2010. "Costly Enforcement of Voluntary Environmental Agreements," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 47(1), pages 45-63, September.
  15. Blackman, Allen & Lahiri, Bidisha & Pizer, William & Rivera Planter, Marisol & Muñoz Piña, Carlos, 2010. "Voluntary environmental regulation in developing countries: Mexico's Clean Industry Program," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 182-192, November.
  16. Allen Blackman & Thomas P Lyon & Nicholas Sisto, 2006. "Voluntary Environmental Agreements when Regulatory Capacity is Weak1," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 48(4), pages 682-702, December.
  17. Robert Innes & Abdoul G. Sam, 2008. "Voluntary Pollution Reductions and the Enforcement of Environmental Law: An Empirical Study of the 33/50 Program," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(2), pages 271-296, 05.
  18. Blackman, Allen & Lyon, Thomas P. & Sisto, Nicholas, 2006. "Voluntary Environmental Agreements when Regulatory Capacity Is Weak," Discussion Papers dp-06-30, Resources For the Future.
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Cited by:
  1. Allen Blackman, 2010. "Alternative Pollution Control Policies in Developing Countries," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 4(2), pages 234-253, Summer.
  2. Blackman, Allen, 2009. "Alternative Pollution Control Policies in Developing Countries: Informal, Informational, and Voluntary," Discussion Papers dp-09-14-efd, Resources For the Future.
  3. Blackman, Allen & Guerrero, Santiago, 2012. "What drives voluntary eco-certification in Mexico?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 256-268.

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