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Evaluating the Effectiveness of EPA Voluntary Programs: An Examination of the Strategic Goals Program for Metal Finishers

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Author Info

  • Keith Brouhle
  • Charles Griffiths
  • Ann Wolverton

Abstract

Voluntary approaches have become a popular in the U.S. to enhance the efficacy and scope of existing regulations and to reduce emissions in sectors or for pollutants where formal environmental regulation is lacking. In this paper, we examine the effectiveness of a particular EPA voluntary program for the metal finishing industry, the Strategic Goals Program (SGP). The Strategic Goals Program is a good candidate for evaluation because it had a credible regulatory threat at the time the program was implemented, we can measure both baseline emissions and progress towards explicit environmental goals, and we have data for participants and non-participants. We look at the decision to participate in the SGP and also try to determine what effect, if any, this program has had on the pollution profile of facilities. In addition, we examine whether the voluntary program had any discernible impact on toxicity-weighted emissions. Finally, we explore the possibility that we have a bimodal distribution in the sample caused by the different motivations of facilities to join a voluntary program. A number of factors influence a firm’s decision to participate in SGP, including trade group membership. However, we do not find robust evidence that SGP participation has had a significant impact on emission reductions. This result continues to hold when we adjust emissions to account for toxicity. Our measure of the threat of regulation is correlated with emission reductions for both participants and non-participants.

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File URL: http://yosemite.epa.gov/ee/epa/eed.nsf/WPNumber/2007-06/$File/2007-06.PDF
File Function: First version, 2007
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in its series NCEE Working Paper Series with number 200706.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: May 2007
Date of revision: May 2007
Handle: RePEc:nev:wpaper:wp200706

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Related research

Keywords: voluntary programs; air emissions; Program effectiveness;

References

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  1. J Videras & A Alberini, 2000. "The appeal of voluntary environmental programs: which firms participate and why?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(4), pages 449-460, October.
  2. Blackman, Allen & Boyd, James, 1999. "Tailored Regulation: Will Voluntary Site-Specific Performance Standards Necessarily Improve Welfare?," Discussion Papers dp-00-03-rev, Resources For the Future.
  3. Arik Levinson, 2001. "An Industry-Adjusted Index of State Environmental Compliance Costs," NBER Chapters, in: Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy, pages 131-158 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Morgenstern, Richard, 1996. "Does the Provision of Free Technical Information Really Influence Firm Behavior?," Discussion Papers dp-96-16, Resources For the Future.
  5. Khanna, Madhu & Quimio, Wilma Rose H. & Bojilova, Dora, 1998. "Toxics Release Information: A Policy Tool for Environmental Protection," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 243-266, November.
  6. Carlo Carraro & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2001. "Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number carr01-1, May.
  7. 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.
  8. Shameek Konar & Mark A. Cohen, 2001. "Does The Market Value Environmental Performance?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 281-289, May.
  9. Lutz, Stefan & Lyon, Thomas P & Maxwell, John W, 2000. "Quality Leadership When Regulatory Standards Are Forthcoming," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 331-48, September.
  10. Henriques, Irene & Sadorsky, Perry, 1996. "The Determinants of an Environmentally Responsive Firm: An Empirical Approach," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 381-395, May.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Keith Brouhle & Charles Griffiths & Ann Wolverton, 2004. "The Use of Voluntary Approaches for Environmental Policymaking in the U.S," NCEE Working Paper Series 200405, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised May 2004.
  14. James T. Hamilton, 1993. "Politics and Social Costs: Estimating the Impact of Collective Action on Hazardous Waste Facilities," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(1), pages 101-125, Spring.
  15. Dasgupta, Susmita & Hettige, Hemamala & Wheeler, David, 2000. "What Improves Environmental Compliance? Evidence from Mexican Industry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 39-66, January.
  16. Eric W. Welch & Allan Mazur & Stuart Bretschneider, 2000. "Voluntary behavior by electric utilities: Levels of adoption and contribution of the climate challenge program to the reduction of carbon dioxide," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(3), pages 407-425.
  17. 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.
  18. Marvin J. Horowitz, 2004. "Electricity Intensity in the Commercial Sector: Market and Public Program Effects," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 115-138.
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Cited by:
  1. Raphael Anton Auer & Raphael S. Schoenle, 2012. "Market Structure and Exchange Rate Pass-Through," Working Papers 2012-14, Swiss National Bank.

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