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Muddling Through while Environmental Regulatory Capacity Evolves: What Role for Voluntary Agreements?

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  • Blackman, Allen

    ()
    (Resources for the Future)

  • Sisto, Nicholas

Abstract

The city of León, Guanajuato, is Mexico’s leather goods capital and a notorious environmental hotspot. Over the past two decades, four high-profile voluntary agreements aimed at controlling pollution from León’s tanneries have yielded few concrete results. To understand why, this paper reconstructs the history of these initiatives, along with that of local environmental regulatory capacity. Juxtaposing these two timelines suggests that the voluntary pollution control agreements were both motivated by—and undermined by—gaps in the legal, institutional, physical, and civic infrastructures needed to make regulation effective. Our analysis offers a concrete definition of environmental regulatory capacity, provides insights into how it evolves, and demonstrates its importance. Moreover, it sheds light on the question of whether voluntary environmental agreements—an increasingly popular regulatory tool—are likely to be effective in developing countries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-05-16.

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Date of creation: 20 Apr 2005
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-05-16

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Keywords: environment; voluntary agreement; regulatory capacity; Latin America; Mexico;

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  1. 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.
  2. Allen Blackman & Arne Kildegaard, 2010. "Clean technological change in developing-country industrial clusters: Mexican leather tanning," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 12(3), pages 115-132, September.
  3. Blackman, Allen & Harrington, Winston, 1999. "The Use of Economic Incentives in Developing Countries: Lessons from International Experience with Industrial Air Pollution," Discussion Papers dp-99-39, Resources For the Future.
  4. 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.
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