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Accidents Waiting to Happen: Liability Policy and Toxic Pollution Releases

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  • Austin, David
  • Alberini, Anna

Abstract

Proponents of environmental policies based on liability assert that strict liability imposed on polluters induces firms to handle hazardous wastes properly. We run regressions relating unintended pollution releases to strict liability imposed on polluters, exploiting variation across states and over time in the liability provisions of state mini-Superfund laws. Strict liability reduces the frequency and severity of pollution releases, provided it is modeled endogenously with the latter. Its effects vary with firm size. Partially sheltered from liability, small firms may have specialized in riskier production processes, but their number has not necessarily grown in response to the states’ liability policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-01-06.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2001
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-01-06

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Keywords: strict liability; negligence; hazardous waste; state environmental policy; endogenous policy adoption;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Vera Angelova & Olivier Armantier & Giuseppe Attanasi & Yolande Hiriart, 2013. "Relative Performance of Liability Rules: Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 2013-03, CRESE.
  2. Pierre Bentata, 2014. "Liability as a complement to environmental regulation: an empirical study of the French legal system," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 16(3), pages 201-228, July.
  3. van 't Veld, Klaas & Hutchinson, Emma, 2009. "Excessive spending by firms to avoid accidents: Is it a concern in practice?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 324-335, December.
  4. Hilary Sigman, 2009. "Environmental Liability and Redevelopment of Old Industrial Land," NBER Working Papers 15017, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Telle, Kjetil, 2013. "Monitoring and enforcement of environmental regulations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 24-34.
  6. Sheila M. Olmstead, 2010. "The Economics of Water Quality," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 4(1), pages 44-62, Winter.
  7. Loureiro, Maria L., 2008. "Liability and food safety provision: Empirical evidence from the US," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 204-211, September.
  8. Alfred Endres & Tim Friehe, 2012. "Generalized Progress of Abatement Technology: Incentives Under Environmental Liability Law," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 53(1), pages 61-71, September.
  9. Guerrero, Santiago & Innes, Robert, 2008. "Statutory Rewards to Environmental Self-Auditing: Do They Reduce Pollution and Save Regulatory Costs? Evidence from a Cross-State Panel," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 6204, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  10. Wayne B. Gray & Jay P. Shimshack, 2011. "The Effectiveness of Environmental Monitoring and Enforcement: A Review of the Empirical Evidence," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
  11. Kjetil Telle, 2012. "Monitoring and enforcement of environmental regulations. Lessons from a natural field experiment in Norway," Discussion Papers 680, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  12. Gonzalez, Fidel & Leipnik, Mark & Mazumder, Diya, 2013. "How much are urban residents in Mexico willing to pay for cleaner air?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(03), pages 354-379, June.

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