Forcing Firms to Think About the Future: Economic Incentives and the Fate of Hazardous Waste
What is the cost of off-site hazardous waste disposal? In addition to paying for disposal fees and shipments costs, generators of hazardous waste can potentially be held liable for the cost of cleanup if the waste disposal site contaminates the environment after closure or abandonment and thus falls under the federal or state Superfund legislation. This paper empirically examines the sensitivity of individual hazardous waste generators to these categories of costs, exploiting the variation across states in factors influencing disposal costs, and in the structure of the liability imposed on waste generators under certain circumstances by state laws. We fit nested logit models to predict the waste management method (incineration or landfill disposal) and the state of destination for shipments of halogenated solvent waste used for metal cleaning in manufacturing and reported in the Toxic Release Inventory in 1988–1990. Waste generators respond to transportation costs and to proxies for current disposal costs. Generators also find the concurrent presence of strict and joint-and-several liability a deterrent, but this deterrent effect does not vary with the wealth of the firm or the volume of the waste shipped. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007
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Volume (Year): 36 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
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