IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Environmental Information Provision as a Public Policy Instrument


  • Petrakis Emmanuel

    () (University of Crete)

  • Sartzetakis Eftichios Sophocles

    () (University of Macedonia)

  • Xepapadeas Anastasios

    () (University of Crete)


We examine information provision as a public policy instrument when products generate damages to consumers as well as environmental externalities. We show that information provision dominates taxation in terms of welfare, if information can be provided at low cost. This is because a uniform tax alone levies a heavier than optimal burden on informed consumers and allows the uninformed consumer to free ride partially on the informed consumers’ voluntary actions. If the cost of information provision is substantial, taxation is welfare superior. A policy regime that combines information provision and taxation leads to higher welfare relative to the use of either instrument alone.

Suggested Citation

  • Petrakis Emmanuel & Sartzetakis Eftichios Sophocles & Xepapadeas Anastasios, 2005. "Environmental Information Provision as a Public Policy Instrument," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-33, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:contributions.4:y:2005:i:1:n:14

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Beckerman, Wilfred, 1992. "Economic growth and the environment: Whose growth? whose environment?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 481-496, April.
    2. William T. Harbaugh & Arik Levinson & David Molloy Wilson, 2002. "Reexamining The Empirical Evidence For An Environmental Kuznets Curve," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 541-551, August.
    3. Kahn, Matthew E., 1998. "A household level environmental Kuznets curve," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 269-273, May.
    4. P Ekins, 1997. "The Kuznets Curve for the Environment and Economic Growth: Examining the Evidence," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 29(5), pages 805-830, May.
    5. Werner Antweiler & Brian R. Copeland & M. Scott Taylor, 2001. "Is Free Trade Good for the Environment?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 877-908, September.
    6. Andreoni, James & Levinson, Arik, 2001. "The simple analytics of the environmental Kuznets curve," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 269-286, May.
    7. Grossman, G.M & Krueger, A.B., 1991. "Environmental Impacts of a North American Free Trade Agreement," Papers 158, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
    8. Selden Thomas M. & Song Daqing, 1994. "Environmental Quality and Development: Is There a Kuznets Curve for Air Pollution Emissions?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 147-162, September.
    9. Gene M. Grossman & Alan B. Krueger, 1995. "Economic Growth and the Environment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 353-377.
    10. P Ekins, 1997. "The Kuznets curve for the environment and economic growth: examining the evidence," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 29(5), pages 805-830, May.
    11. Wolfgang Keller & Arik Levinson, 2000. "Environmental Regulations and FDI Inflows to U.S. States," Working Papers gueconwpa~00-00-06, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
    12. Torras, Mariano & Boyce, James K., 1998. "Income, inequality, and pollution: a reassessment of the environmental Kuznets Curve," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 147-160, May.
    13. Arrow, Kenneth & Bolin, Bert & Costanza, Robert & Dasgupta, Partha & Folke, Carl & Holling, C.S. & Jansson, Bengt-Owe & Levin, Simon & Mäler, Karl-Göran & Perrings, Charles & Pimentel, David, 1996. "Economic growth, carrying capacity, and the environment," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 104-110, February.
    14. Stern, David I. & Common, Michael S. & Barbier, Edward B., 1996. "Economic growth and environmental degradation: The environmental Kuznets curve and sustainable development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(7), pages 1151-1160, July.
    15. Costanza, Robert, 1995. "Economic growth, carrying capacity, and the environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 89-90, November.
    16. Cropper, Maureen & Griffiths, Charles, 1994. "The Interaction of Population Growth and Environmental Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 250-254, May.
    17. Shafik, Nemat & Bandyopadhyay, Sushenjit, 1992. "Economic growth and environmental quality : time series and cross-country evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 904, The World Bank.
    18. Hilton, F. G. Hank & Levinson, Arik, 1998. "Factoring the Environmental Kuznets Curve: Evidence from Automotive Lead Emissions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 126-141, March.
    19. Selden Thomas M. & Song Daqing, 1995. "Neoclassical Growth, the J Curve for Abatement, and the Inverted U Curve for Pollution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 162-168, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Andrea Podhorsky, 2009. "Environmental Labeling," Working Papers 2009_3, York University, Department of Economics.
    2. Eftichios Sartzetakis & Anastasios Xepapadeas & Emmanuel Petrakis, "undated". "The role of information provision as a policy instrument to supplement environmental taxes: Empowering consumers to choose optimally," DEOS Working Papers 1012, Athens University of Economics and Business.
    3. Aditi Sengupta, 2010. "Signaling environmental quality to green consumers and the incentive to invest in cleaner technology: Effect of environmental regulation," Departmental Working Papers 1001, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
    4. Sengupta, Aditi, 2015. "Competitive investment in clean technology and uninformed green consumers," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 125-141.
    5. Lucie Bottega & Jenny De Freitas, 2009. "Public, Private and Nonprofit Regulation for Environmental Quality," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 105-123, March.
    6. Sengupta, Aditi, 2012. "Investment in cleaner technology and signaling distortions in a market with green consumers," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 468-480.
    7. Gil-Moltó, Maria José & Varvarigos, Dimitrios, 2013. "Emission taxes and the adoption of cleaner technologies: The case of environmentally conscious consumers," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 486-504.
    8. Lehmann, Paul, 2008. "Using a Policy Mix for Pollution Control – A Review of Economic Literature," MPRA Paper 21354, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Kallbekken, Steffen & Westskog, Hege & Mideksa, Torben K., 2010. "Appeals to social norms as policy instruments to address consumption externalities," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 447-454, August.
    10. Eftichios Sartzetakis & Anastasios Xepapadeas & Emmanuel Petrakis, 2012. "The Role of Information Provision as a Policy Instrument to Supplement Environmental Taxes," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 52(3), pages 347-368, July.
    11. Jesse Matheson, 2011. "Prices and social behavior: A study of adult smoking in Canadian Aboriginal communities," Discussion Papers in Economics 11/50, Department of Economics, University of Leicester, revised Dec 2012.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:contributions.4:y:2005:i:1:n:14. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.