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Firms' Choice of Regulatory Instruments to Reduce Pollution: A Transaction Cost Approach


  • Delmas Magali

    (University of California, Santa Barbara)

  • Marcus Alfred

    (University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management)


This paper compares the economic efficiency of firm-agency governance structures for pollution reduction using transaction costs economics. Two governance structures are analyzed with the transaction costs approach: command and control regulation (CCR) and negotiated agreements (NAs). We propose that the choice of governance structure depends on the strategies firms pursue given the attributes of their transactions and their market opportunities. The application of transaction cost economics analysis leads to different choices of regulatory instruments. Firms in more mature, stable industries are likely to choose command and control, while firms in new, dynamic sectors are more likely to opt for negotiated agreements. Frequency of transactions is a key factor in firm choice.

Suggested Citation

  • Delmas Magali & Marcus Alfred, 2004. "Firms' Choice of Regulatory Instruments to Reduce Pollution: A Transaction Cost Approach," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(3), pages 1-22, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:buspol:v:6:y:2004:i:3:n:3

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Blackman, Allen & Guerrero, Santiago, 2012. "What drives voluntary eco-certification in Mexico?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 256-268.
    2. Finon, Dominique & Perez, Yannick, 2007. "The social efficiency of instruments of promotion of renewable energies: A transaction-cost perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 77-92, April.
    3. Jorge Rivera & Jennifer Oetzel & Peter deLeon & Mark Starik, 2009. "Business responses to environmental and social protection policies: toward a framework for analysis," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 42(1), pages 3-32, February.
    4. Allen Blackman & Sarah Darley & Thomas P. Lyon & Kris Wernstedt, 2010. "What Drives Participation in State Voluntary Cleanup Programs? Evidence from Oregon," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 86(4), pages 785-799.
    5. Blackman, Allen & Woodward, Richard T., 2010. "User financing in a national payments for environmental services program: Costa Rican hydropower," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(8), pages 1626-1638, June.
    6. Douadia Bougherara & Gilles Grolleau & Naoufel Mzoughi, 2009. "The ‘make or buy’ decision in private environmental transactions," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 79-99, February.
    7. Iris Maria Oberauner, 2010. "Prices vs. Quantities: An Empirical Study of Firms' Instrument Choice," Working papers 2010/07, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    8. Gilles Grolleau & Naoufel Mzoughi & Alban Thomas, 2007. "What drives agrifood firms to register for an Environmental Management System?," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 34(2), pages 233-255, June.
    9. Thiel, Andreas & Schleyer, Christian & Hinkel, Jochen & Schlüter, Maja & Hagedorn, Konrad & Bisaro, Sandy & Bobojonov, Ihtiyor & Hamidov, Ahmad, 2016. "Transferring Williamson's discriminating alignment to the analysis of environmental governance of social-ecological interdependence," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 159-168.
    10. Holburn, Guy L.F., 2012. "Assessing and managing regulatory risk in renewable energy: Contrasts between Canada and the United States," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 654-665.

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