Do Plants Overcomply with Water Pollution Regulations? The Role of Discharge Variability
This paper uses previously unexploited data to examine polluters' compliance with point-source water pollution regulations, a line of inquiry motivated by widespread apparent overcompliance. We use a nationwide panel of monthly plant-level effluent concentrations from 1991-1999. These monthly data allow us to observe month-to-month variability in discharges and therefore to test hypotheses not previously examined.We find that plants that have higher discharge variability have lower median discharges. This is strong evidence for the purported "safety margin" effect. This result then implies that average discharges, a common measure of polluter behavior, are not an accurate indicator of polluter behavior.In response, we construct a plant-specific implied probability of a violation that accounts for discharge variability. We show that plants in richer communities have lower violation probabilities. We further argue that plants are indeed overcomplying with the regulations even when accounting for the safety margin effect.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 6 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: https://www.degruyter.com|
|Order Information:||Web: https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bejeap|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Gray, Wayne B. & Shadbegian, R.J.Ronald J., 2004.
"'Optimal' pollution abatement--whose benefits matter, and how much?,"
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management,
Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 510-534, May.
- Wayne B. Gray & Ronald J. Shadbegian, 2002. "Optimal Pollution Abatement - Whose Benefits Matter, and How Much?," NBER Working Papers 9125, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Wayne B. Gray & Ronald J. Shadbegian, 2002. "‘Optimal’ Pollution Abatement – Whose Benefits Matter, and How Much?," NCEE Working Paper Series 200205, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Sep 2002.
- Foulon, Jerome & Lanoie, Paul & Laplante, Benoit, 2002. "Incentives for Pollution Control: Regulation or Information?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 169-187, July.
- Russell W. Pittman, 1981. "Issue in Pollution Control: Interplant Cost Differences and Economies of Scale," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 57(1), pages 1-17.
- 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.
- Shimshack, Jay P. & Ward, Michael B., 2008. "Enforcement and over-compliance," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 90-105, January.
- Shimshack, Jay P. & Ward, Michael B., 2007. "Enforcement and over-compliance," MPRA Paper 25993, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Jay P. Shimshack & Michael B. Ward, 2007. "Enforcement and Over-Compliance," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0706, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
- 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.
- John D. McClelland & John K. Horowitz, 1999. "The Costs of Water Pollution Regulation in the Pulp and Paper Industry," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 75(2), pages 220-232.
- Dietrich Earnhart, 2004. "The Effects of Community Characteristics on Polluter Compliance Levels," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 80(3), pages 408-432.
- Earnhart, Dietrich, 2004. "Regulatory factors shaping environmental performance at publicly-owned treatment plants," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 655-681, July. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)