The Pace of Progress at Superfund Sites: Policy Goals and Interest Group Influence
AbstractBureaucracies may set priorities for their workload according to social goals or the desires of concentrated private interests. This paper explores bureaucratic priorities empirically by studying Superfund, the federal program for cleaning up contaminated sites. It examines the amount of time that sites on Superfund's National Priorities List require to complete three states from listing to cleanup, using an econometric method for multiple sequential durations. The empirical results provide little evidence that the EPA prioritizes sites according to their harms. By contrast, concentrated private interests, such as liable parties and local communities, play an important role in the EPA's priorities. Delays caused by liable parties may reduce net benefits of cleanup by 8%. This result suggests a benefit from funding provision of environmental quality and other public goods through diffuse sources, such as broad-based taxes, to avoid the detrimental effects of such concentrated interests.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7704.
Date of creation: May 2000
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Other versions of this item:
- Sigman, Hilary, 2001. "The Pace of Progress at Superfund Sites: Policy Goals and Interest Group Influence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 315-44, April.
- Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
- K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2000-05-22 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2000-05-22 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-LAW-2000-05-22 (Law & Economics)
- NEP-PBE-2000-05-22 (Public Economics)
- NEP-POL-2000-05-22 (Positive Political Economics)
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