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Do Regulators Respond to Voluntary Pollution Control Efforts? A Count Data Analysis


  • Christopher S. Decker


This article addresses whether environmental regulators are responsive to voluntary environmental behavior. Mixed results are obtained. In two of four frequently inspected manufacturing industries, state regulators do indeed undertake fewer current inspections at those plants that report lower per unit output Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) chemical releases. Moreover, regulated pollutant releases and statutory compliance history also influence inspection activity. Finally, in the pulp and paper industry, plants that account for a larger share of state manufacturing employment are inspected less frequently. In other sectors, this appears not to be the case. (JEL "K32", "L51", "Q21") Copyright 2005 Western Economic Association International.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher S. Decker, 2005. "Do Regulators Respond to Voluntary Pollution Control Efforts? A Count Data Analysis," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 23(2), pages 180-194, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:23:y:2005:i:2:p:180-194

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Konar, Shameek & Cohen, Mark A., 1997. "Information As Regulation: The Effect of Community Right to Know Laws on Toxic Emissions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 109-124, January.
    2. David Weil, 1996. "If OSHA Is So Bad, Why is Compliance So Good?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(3), pages 618-640, Autumn.
    3. Cameron, A Colin & Windmeijer, Frank A G, 1996. "R-Squared Measures for Count Data Regression Models with Applications to Health-Care Utilization," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(2), pages 209-220, April.
    4. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    5. Gray, Wayne B. & Deily, Mary E., 1996. "Compliance and Enforcement: Air Pollution Regulation in the U.S. Steel Industry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 96-111, July.
    6. Cameron, A. Colin & Trivedi, Pravin K., 1990. "Regression-based tests for overdispersion in the Poisson model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 347-364, December.
    7. Laplante, Benoit & Rilstone, Paul, 1996. "Environmental Inspections and Emissions of the Pulp and Paper Industry in Quebec," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 19-36, July.
    8. Magat, Wesley A & Viscusi, W Kip, 1990. "Effectiveness of the EPA's Regulatory Enforcement: The Case of Industrial Effluent Standards," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 331-360, October.
    9. Eric Helland, 1998. "The Enforcement Of Pollution Control Laws: Inspections, Violations, And Self-Reporting," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 141-153, February.
    10. Deily, Mary E. & Gray, Wayne B., 1991. "Enforcement of pollution regulations in a declining industry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 260-274, November.
    11. Nadeau, Louis W., 1997. "EPA Effectiveness at Reducing the Duration of Plant-Level Noncompliance," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 54-78, September.
    12. Jeremy Firestone, 2002. "Agency governance and enforcement: the influence of mission on environmental decisionmaking," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(3), pages 409-426.
    13. Dion, Catherine & Lanoie, Paul & Laplante, Benoit, 1998. "Monitoring of Pollution Regulation: Do Local Conditions Matter?," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 5-18, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Arguedas, Carmen & Rousseau, Sandra, 2012. "Learning about compliance under asymmetric information," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 55-73.
    2. Christopher Decker & John Maxwell, 2012. "Environmental inspection proclivity and state manufacturing growth: the US Experience from the 1990s," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 48(1), pages 263-282, February.
    3. Donna Ramirez Harrington, 2013. "Effectiveness Of State Pollution Prevention Programs And Policies," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 255-278, April.
    4. Christopher S. Decker & John W. Maxwell, 2010. "Environmental Inspection Proclivity and State Manufacturing Growth: The US Experience from the 1990s," Working Papers 2010-02, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    5. Decker, Christopher S. & Thompson, Eric C. & Wohar, Mark E., 2009. "Determinants of State Labor Productivity: The Changing Role of Density," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 39(1).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • Q21 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Demand and Supply; Prices


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