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Letting States do the Dirty Work: State Responsibility for Federal Environmental Regulation

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  • Hilary Sigman

Abstract

Under most U.S. environmental regulations, the federal government shares responsibility with the states by authorizing them to implement and enforce federal policies. Authorization provides states with considerable discretion over the effects of regulation and is perhaps the most significant decentralization in U.S. environmental policy. However, few studies address its role. To fill this gap, this paper explores the empirical determinants of authorization for water pollution and hazardous waste regulation. Although no single hypothesis strongly explains authorization, I find some evidence that states authorize to increase the stringency of regulation, which suggests that environmental decentralization would be beneficial.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9451.

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Date of creation: Jan 2003
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Publication status: published as Sigman, Hilary. "Letting States Do The Dirty Work: State Responsibility For Federal Environmental Regulation," National Tax Journal, 2003, v56(1,Mar), 107-122.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9451

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  1. Besley, Timothy J. & Coate, Stephen, 2000. "Centralized versus Decentralized Provision of Local Public Goods: a Political Economy Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 2495, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Oates, Wallace, 2001. "A Reconsideration of Environmental Federalism," Discussion Papers, Resources For the Future dp-01-54, Resources For the Future.
  3. Helland, Eric, 1998. "The Revealed Preferences of State EPAs: Stringency, Enforcement, and Substitution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 242-261, May.
  4. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
  5. Wayne B. Gray & Ronald J. Shadbegian, 2002. "Optimal Pollution Abatement - Whose Benefits Matter, and How Much?," NBER Working Papers 9125, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Koleman S. Strumpf & Felix Oberholzer-Gee, 2002. "Endogenous Policy Decentralization: Testing the Central Tenet of Economic Federalism," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 1-36, February.
  7. Eric Helland & Andrew B. Whitford, . "Pollution Incidence and Political Jurisdiction: Evidence from the TRI," Claremont Colleges Working Papers, Claremont Colleges 2002-28, Claremont Colleges.
  8. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
  9. Revesz, Richard L. & Stavins, Robert N., 2007. "Environmental Law," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier.
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Cited by:
  1. James Alm & H. Spencer Banzhaf, 2012. "Designing Economic Instruments For The Environment In A Decentralized Fiscal System," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(2), pages 177-202, 04.
  2. Arik Levinson, 2002. "Environmental Regulatory Competition: A Status Report and Some New Evident," Working Papers, Georgetown University, Department of Economics gueconwpa~02-02-07, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  3. Howard Chang & Hilary Sigman & Leah G. Traub, 2007. "Endogenous Decentralization in Federal Environmental Policies," NBER Working Papers 13238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Hilary Sigman, 2004. "Transboundary Spillovers and Decentralization of Environmental Policies," NBER Working Papers 10717, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bowman Cutter, W. & DeShazo, J.R., 2007. "The environmental consequences of decentralizing the decision to decentralize," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 32-53, January.
  6. Michelle Pautz & Sara Rinfret, 2011. "Making sense of the front lines: environmental regulators in Ohio and Wisconsin," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 277-288, December.
  7. Hilary Sigman, 2007. "Decentralization and Environmental Quality: An International Analysis of Water Pollution," NBER Working Papers 13098, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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