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Incentives for pollution abatement: Regulation, regulatory threats, and non-governmental pressures

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  • Kathryn Harrison

    (Department of Political Science, University of British Columbia)

  • Werner Antweiler

    (Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration, University of British Columbia)

Abstract

In the last decade, voluntary efforts by firms to reduce their environmental impacts have received increasing attention from both policymakers and scholars. This article discusses polluters' incentives to reduce their releases. In particular, using data from Canada's National Pollutant Release Inventory, it examines the impacts of conventional regulation, threats of regulation, and non-governmental pressures facilitated by public dissemination of information about pollutant releases. The vast majority of reductions reported to the inventory to date were found not to be voluntary, as has often been assumed, but are, rather, the result of direct regulation of a relatively small number of polluters. Strong effects of federal regulation were found among other sources, as well, with much weaker responses to the mere threat of regulation. However, of concern are the growth of less visible waste streams-such as land disposal and underground injection-as well as transfers of wastes to other communities. Finally, evidence is reported that some waste streams are increasing in toxicity, an effect that may outweigh the benefits of reductions in releases. © 2003 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Volume (Year): 22 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 361-382

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:22:y:2003:i:3:p:361-382

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Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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  1. Khanna, Madhu & Damon, Lisa A., 1999. "EPA's Voluntary 33/50 Program: Impact on Toxic Releases and Economic Performance of Firms," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 1-25, January.
  2. Maxwell, John W & Lyon, Thomas P & Hackett, Steven C, 2000. "Self-Regulation and Social Welfare: The Political Economy of Corporate Environmentalism," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 583-617, October.
  3. Rennings, Klaus & Brockmann, Karl Ludwig & Bergmann, Heidi, 1997. "Voluntary Agreements in Environmental Protection - Experiences in Germany and Future Perspectives," ZEW Discussion Papers, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research 97-04, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  4. Seema Arora & Timothy N. Cason, 1996. "Why Do Firms Volunteer to Exceed Environmental Regulations? Understanding Participation in EPA's 33/50 Program," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(4), pages 413-432.
  5. Konar, Shameek & Cohen, Mark A., 1997. "Information As Regulation: The Effect of Community Right to Know Laws on Toxic Emissions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 109-124, January.
  6. Brooks, Nancy & Sethi, Rajiv, 1997. "The Distribution of Pollution: Community Characteristics and Exposure to Air Toxics," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 233-250, February.
  7. Jeffrey C. Terry & Bruce Yandle, 1997. "EPA's toxic release inventory: stimulus and response," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(6), pages 433-442.
  8. Hamilton, James T, 1999. "Exercising Property Rights to Pollute: Do Cancer Risks and Politics Affect Plant Emission Reductions?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 105-24, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Parry, Ian & Walls, Margaret & Sigman, Hilary & Williams III, Roberton, 2005. "The Incidence of Pollution Control Policies," Discussion Papers, Resources For the Future dp-05-24, Resources For the Future.
  2. Grischa Perino, 2008. "The merits of new pollutants and how to get them when patents are granted," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 40(3), pages 313-327, July.
  3. McAusland, Carol & Millimet, Daniel L., 2013. "Do national borders matter? Intranational trade, international trade, and the environment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 411-437.
  4. Keith Brouhle & Donna Harrington, 2010. "GHG Registries: Participation and Performance Under the Canadian Voluntary Climate Challenge Program," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 47(4), pages 521-548, December.
  5. Donna Ramirez Harrington, 2013. "Effectiveness Of State Pollution Prevention Programs And Policies," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 255-278, 04.
  6. Repetto, Robert, 2005. "Protecting investors and the environment through financial disclosure," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 51-68, March.
  7. Werner Antweiler, 2003. "How Effective Is Green Regulatory Threat?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 436-441, May.

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