Why Do Firms Volunteer to Exceed Environmental Regulations? Understanding Participation in EPA's 33/50 Program
This paper examines participation in EPA's 33/50 program to assess the potential for voluntary environmental regulation to achieve improvements in environmental performance. The program's goal is to reduce the releases and transfers of 17 toxic chemicals by 50 percent between 1988 and 1995. The results indicate that the program has strong potential because large firms with the greatest toxic releases are most likely to participate. The results also identify a demand-based participation incentive, since participation rates are higher in industries with greater consumer contact. This suggests that public recognition is key to improving the success of voluntary environmental regulation.
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