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Press and leaks: Do newspapers reduce toxic emissions?

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  • Campa, Pamela

Abstract

This study investigates the effects of media on corporate environmental decisions. Using data on plant-level toxic emissions from 1996 to 2009 from the US Environmental Protection Agency's Toxics Release Inventory, and newly collected data on the location and content of newspapers, I find that the probability that a plant's emissions are featured in a nearby newspaper increases with the plant's proximity to the newspaper's headquarter. Further, plants located near a larger number of newspapers' headquarters produce lower toxic emissions. The latter result is specific to plants operating in those industries that produce consumer goods, suggesting an important role of accountability through consumer demand. An event-study analysis also shows that when newspapers cover the emissions of consumer goods producers, these reduce their emissions by 29% with respect to those plants that were not covered, whereas there is no evidence of differential trends in the years that lead up to coverage.

Suggested Citation

  • Campa, Pamela, 2018. "Press and leaks: Do newspapers reduce toxic emissions?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 184-202.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:91:y:2018:i:c:p:184-202
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2018.07.007
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    3. Federico Boffa & Amedeo Piolatto & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto, 2016. "Political Centralization and Government Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 131(1), pages 381-422.
    4. Belay, Dagim G. & Jensen, Jørgen D., 2020. "‘The scarlet letters’: Information disclosure and self-regulation: Evidence from antibiotic use in Denmark," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 104(C).
    5. Axel Cronert, 2022. "When the paper tiger bites: Evidence of compliance with unenforced regulation among employers in Sweden," Regulation & Governance, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 16(4), pages 1141-1159, October.
    6. Rafael Araujo & Francisco Costa & Teevrat Garg, 2022. "Public Attention and Environmental Action: Evidence from Fires in the Amazon," CESifo Working Paper Series 9897, CESifo.
    7. Martin, Erik Nikolaus, 2021. "Can public service broadcasting survive Silicon Valley? Synthesizing leadership perspectives at the BBC, PBS, NPR, CPB and local U.S. stations," Technology in Society, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).
    8. Pamela Campa & Lucija Muehlenbachs, 2024. "Addressing Environmental Justice through In-Kind Court Settlements," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 415-446, February.
    9. Jingjing Deng & Mingxian Li & Yi Li & Jun Lu, 2024. "Effect of Environmental Courts on Pollution Abatement: A Spatial Difference-in-Differences Analysis," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 16(4), pages 1-20, February.
    10. Magalhães de Oliveira, Gustavo & Sellare, Jorge & Cisneros, Elias, Börner, Jan & Börner, Jan, 2024. "Mind your language: Political signaling and deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon," Discussion Papers 333334, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
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    12. Calel, Raphael & Dechezlepretre, Antoine & Venmans, Frank, 2023. "Policing carbon markets," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 120565, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Toxic emissions; Newspapers; Accountability; Corporate environmentalism;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L88 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Government Policy
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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