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Environmental disasters as risk regulation catalysts? The role of Bhopal, Chernobyl, Exxon Valdez, Love Canal, and Three Mile Island in shaping U.S. environmental law

  • Matthew Kahn


Unexpected events such as environmental catastrophes capture wide public attention. Soon after five major shocks—Three Mile Island, Love Canal, Bhopal, Chernobyl, and the Exxon Valdez oil spill—Congress voted on new risk regulation. This paper conducts an event study to test whether individual congressional representatives were “shocked” by these environmental disasters into increasing their probability of voting in favor of risk legislation. On average, representatives were less likely to vote in favor of bills tied to these five events. Significant heterogeneity in representatives’ responses to these shocks is documented. Liberal Northeast representatives were most likely to increase their pro-environment voting in the aftermath of these shocks. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Risk and Uncertainty.

Volume (Year): 35 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (August)
Pages: 17-43

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jrisku:v:35:y:2007:i:1:p:17-43
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