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Information Disclosure Policy: Do States' Data Processing Efforts Help More than the Information Disclosure Itself?

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  • Hyunhoe Bae
  • Peter Wilcoxen
  • David Popp

Abstract

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) was expected to reduce health risks stemming from emissions of hazardous chemicals by increasing public pressure on polluters. However, it is a massive and complex dataset, requiring significant expertise to interpret in its raw form. State governments have attempted to mitigate the TRI's information processing burden on the public via two types of policies: (1) selection and dissemination of raw TRI data for plants within the state, and (2) data processing activities producing more refined reports and analysis. This study assesses the effectiveness of those policies. Our results show that state-level data dissemination efforts lowered the total number of pounds of chemicals released, but had little effect on health risks. State-level data processing efforts, in contrast, did lead to significant reductions in health risks. We conclude that simple dissemination of the data was ineffective (and even counterproductive in some instances), and that the states' data processing efforts have played a critical role in achieving the TRI's underlying goal.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14409.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
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Publication status: published as Hyunhoe Bae & Peter Wilcoxen & David Popp, 2010. "Information disclosure policy: Do state data processing efforts help more than the information disclosure itself?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(1), pages 163-182.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14409

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Cited by:
  1. Janet Currie, 2011. "Inequality at Birth: Some Causes and Consequences," NBER Working Papers 16798, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Hyunhoe Bae, 2012. "Reducing Environmental Risks by Information Disclosure: Evidence in Residential Lead Paint Disclosure Rule," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(2), pages 404-431, 03.
  3. Matisoff, Daniel C., 2013. "Different rays of sunlight: Understanding information disclosure and carbon transparency," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 579-592.

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