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Evaluating the role of EPA policy levers: An examination of a voluntary program and regulatory threat in the metal-finishing industry

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  • Brouhle, Keith
  • Griffiths, Charles
  • Wolverton, Ann

Abstract

In this paper, we evaluate the influence of two environmental policy levers on emissions in the metal-finishing industry: a voluntary program--the Strategic Goals Program (SGP)--and the threat of formal regulation. While voluntary approaches are increasingly utilized as policy tools, the effectiveness of such programs is often questioned, and the impact of a voluntary program in tandem with a regulatory threat is not well understood. We examine the decision to participate in the SGP and, conditional on that decision, determine the effects that the SGP and regulatory threat had on facility emissions behavior. Participation in the program appears related to several forms of external pressure: the regulatory threat, industry trade association membership, the level of environmental giving in a state, and a number of neighborhood characteristics. However, over the entire study period, participation in the SGP yielded little, if any, additional reductions in emissions, while the regulatory threat is correlated with significant emission reductions by both participants and non-participants. Splitting our study period into two time periods reveals a more nuanced relationship between SGP participation and emissions behavior than is evident over the entire study period. While participants do not appear to take advantage of the program initially, they make greater strides in reducing emissions than non-participants in later years. The split sample results also indicate that both participants and non-participants react strongly to the initial threat of regulation and to an increase in its relative stringency.

Suggested Citation

  • Brouhle, Keith & Griffiths, Charles & Wolverton, Ann, 2009. "Evaluating the role of EPA policy levers: An examination of a voluntary program and regulatory threat in the metal-finishing industry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 166-181, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:57:y:2009:i:2:p:166-181
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Harrington, Donna Ramirez, 2012. "Two-stage adoption of different types of pollution prevention (P2) activities," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 349-373.
    2. Fisher-Vanden, Karen & Thorburn, Karin S., 2011. "Voluntary corporate environmental initiatives and shareholder wealth," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 430-445.
    3. Andreas Ferrara and Ian Lange, 2014. "Voluntary Programs to Encourage Diffusion: The Case of the Combined Heat-and-Power Partnership," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1).
    4. Patricia Crifo & Vanina Forget, 2013. "La responsabilité sociale et environnementale des entreprises : mirage ou virage ?," Working Papers hal-00830642, HAL.
    5. Demirel, Pelin & Kesidou, Effie, 2011. "Stimulating different types of eco-innovation in the UK: Government policies and firm motivations," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(8), pages 1546-1557, June.
    6. Shanti Gamper-Rabindran & Stephen Finger, 2013. "Does industry self-regulation reduce pollution? Responsible Care in the chemical industry," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 1-30, January.
    7. Patricia Crifo & Vanina D. Forget, 2015. "The Economics Of Corporate Social Responsibility: A Firm-Level Perspective Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(1), pages 112-130, February.
    8. Bui, Linda T.M. & Kapon, Samuel, 2012. "The impact of voluntary programs on polluting behavior: Evidence from pollution prevention programs and toxic releases," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 31-44.
    9. Bryden, Anna & Petticrew, Mark & Mays, Nicholas & Eastmure, Elizabeth & Knai, Cecile, 2013. "Voluntary agreements between government and business—A scoping review of the literature with specific reference to the Public Health Responsibility Deal," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 186-197.
    10. Patricia Crifo & Vanina Forget, 2012. "The Economics of Corporate Social Responsibility: A Survey," Working Papers hal-00720640, HAL.
    11. Brouhle, Keith & Graham, Brad & Harrington, Donna Ramirez, 2013. "Innovation under the Climate Wise program," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 91-112.
    12. Kathleen Segerson, 2013. "Voluntary Approaches to Environmental Protection and Resource Management," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 161-180, June.
    13. Gray, Wayne B. & Shadbegian, Ronald J., 2015. "Multimedia Pollution Regulation and Environmental Performance: EPA’s Cluster Rule," Discussion Papers dp-15-26, Resources For the Future.
    14. 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.
    15. Pelin Demirel & Effie Kesidou, 2013. "The impact of environmental regulation frameworks and firm-level factors on eco-innovations: evidence from DEFRA survey of UK manufacturing firms," Chapters,in: Governance, Regulation and Innovation, chapter 6, pages 149-181 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    16. Lange, Ian, 2008. "Evaluating Voluntary Measures with Spillovers: The Case of Coal Combustion Products Partnership," Stirling Economics Discussion Papers 2008-24, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.

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