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Informal Sector Pollution Control: What Policy Options Do We Have?

Listed author(s):
  • Blackman, Allen

In developing countries, urban clusters of informal firms such as brick kilns and leather tanneries can create severe pollution problems. However, these firms are quite difficult to regulate for a variety of technical and political reasons. Drawing on the literature, this paper first develops a list of feasible environmental management policies. It then examines how these policies have fared in four independent efforts to control emissions from informal brick kilns in northern Mexico. The case studies suggest that: (i) conventional command and control process standards are generally only enforceable when buttressed by peer monitoring, (ii) surprisingly, clean technologies can be successfully diffused even when they raise variable costs, in part because early adopters have an economic incentive to promote further adoption, (iii) boycotts of "dirty" goods sold in informal markets are unenforceable, (iv) well-organized informal firms can block implementation of costly abatement strategies such as relocation, and (v) private-sector-led initiatives may be best suited for informal sector pollution control.
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

Volume (Year): 28 (2000)
Issue (Month): 12 (December)
Pages: 2067-2082

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Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:28:y:2000:i:12:p:2067-2082
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

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  1. Blackman, Allen & Bannister, Geoffrey, 1998. "Pollution Control in the Informal Sector: The Ciudad Juárez Brickmakers' Project," Discussion Papers dp-98-15, Resources For the Future.
  2. Blackman, Allen & Harrington, Winston, 1999. "The Use of Economic Incentives in Developing Countries: Lessons from International Experience with Industrial Air Pollution," Discussion Papers dp-99-39, Resources For the Future.
  3. Blackman, Allen & Shih, Jhih-Shyang & Evans, David & Batz, Michael & Newbold, Stephen & Cook, Joseph, 2006. "The benefits and costs of informal sector pollution control: Mexican brick kilns," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(05), pages 603-627, October.
  4. Blackman, Allen & Bannister, Geoffrey J., 1998. "Community Pressure and Clean Technology in the Informal Sector: An Econometric Analysis of the Adoption of Propane by Traditional Mexican Brickmakers," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 1-21, January.
  5. Eskeland, Gunnar S & Jimenez, Emmanuel, 1992. "Policy Instruments for Pollution Control in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 7(2), pages 145-169, July.
  6. Biller, Dan*DEC, 1994. "Informal gold mining and mercury pollution in Brazil," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1304, The World Bank.
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