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Driving less for better air: Impacts of a public information campaign

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  • Gary T. Henry

    (Andrew Young School of Policy Studies and Political Science, Georgia State University, Atlanta)

  • Craig S. Gordon

    (Andrew Young School of Policy Studies and Political Science, Georgia State University, Atlanta)

Abstract

In the wake of the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act, localities across the United States initiated public information campaigns both to raise awareness of threats to air quality and to change behavior related to air pollution by recommending specific behavioral changes in the campaign messages. These campaigns are designed to reduce the health hazards associated with poor air quality and to avoid federal sanctions resulting from the failure to meet air quality standards. As in many other communities across the country, a coalition of government agencies and businesses initiated a public information campaign in the Atlanta metropolitan region to reduce certain targeted behaviors, mainly driving. A two-stage model used to analyze data from a rolling sample survey shows that the centerpiece of the information campaign-air quality alerts-was effective in raising awareness and reducing driving in a segment of the population. When the overall information campaign was moderated by employers' participation in programs to improve air quality, drivers significantly reduced the number of miles they drove and the number of trips they took by car on days when air quality alerts were sounded. Public information campaigns can be successful in increasing awareness, but changing well-established behaviors, such as driving, is likely to require institutional mediation to provide social contexts that support the behavioral change, as well. © 2003 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary T. Henry & Craig S. Gordon, 2003. "Driving less for better air: Impacts of a public information campaign," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(1), pages 45-63.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:22:y:2003:i:1:p:45-63 DOI: 10.1002/pam.10095
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Seema Arora & Timothy N. Cason, 1996. "Why Do Firms Volunteer to Exceed Environmental Regulations? Understanding Participation in EPA's 33/50 Program," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(4), pages 413-432.
    2. Janet A. Weiss & Mary Tschirhart, 1994. "Public information campaigns as policy instruments," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(1), pages 82-119.
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    Cited by:

    1. Maureen Cropper & Yi Jiang & Anna Alberini & Patrick Baur, 2014. "Getting Cars Off the Road: The Cost-Effectiveness of an Episodic Pollution Control Program," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, pages 117-143.
    2. Miles M. Finney, 2014. "Information And The Demand For Clean Air," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(4), pages 719-728, October.
    3. Laurent Van Malderen & Bart Jourquin & Isabelle Thomas & Thomas Vanoutrive & Ann Verhetsel & Frank Witlox, 2011. "Employer Mobility Plans: Acceptability, Efficiency And Costs," ERSA conference papers ersa10p291, European Regional Science Association.
    4. repec:eee:resene:v:49:y:2017:i:c:p:165-185 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Saberian, Soodeh & Heyes, Anthony & Rivers, Nicholas, 2017. "Alerts work! Air quality warnings and cycling," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 165-185.
    6. Osberghaus, Daniel & Finkel, Elyssa & Pohl, Max, 2010. "Individual Adaptation to Climate Change: The Role of Information and Perceived Risk," MPRA Paper 26569, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Carrico, Amanda R. & Padgett, Paul & Vandenbergh, Michael P. & Gilligan, Jonathan & Wallston, Kenneth A., 2009. "Costly myths: An analysis of idling beliefs and behavior in personal motor vehicles," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 2881-2888, August.
    8. Graham-Rowe, Ella & Skippon, Stephen & Gardner, Benjamin & Abraham, Charles, 2011. "Can we reduce car use and, if so, how? A review of available evidence," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 45(5), pages 401-418, June.

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