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Information disclosure policy: Do state data processing efforts help more than the information disclosure itself?

Author

Listed:
  • Hyunhoe Bae

    (Graduate Researcher, Department of Public Administration, Center for Environmental Policy and Administration, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University)

  • Peter Wilcoxen

    (Associate Professor, Department of Economics and Public Administration, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University)

  • David Popp

    (Associate Professor, Department of Public Administration, Center for Policy Research, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University)

Abstract

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) was expected to reduce health risks stemming from emissions of hazardous chemicals by increasing public pressure on polluters. However, raw TRI data fails to transmit accurate information fitted to the public's interest. TRI is a massive and complex data set that, in its raw form, provides information on the pounds of toxics released, rather than the risks these releases pose to human health, which is the true quantity of interest. Consequently, raw TRI data needs to be refined and interpreted in terms of health risks by its users, which requires analytical sophistication and substantial data processing. State governments have attempted to increase of the usefulness of the TRI to the general public via two types of policies: (1) selection and dissemination of raw TRI data for plants within the state, and (2) data processing activities producing more refined reports and further data analysis. This study assesses the effectiveness of those two policies, asking how much each contributes to the intended policy outcome of reducing health risks. Our results show that state-level data dissemination efforts lowered the total number of pounds of chemicals released, but had little effect on health risks. State-level data processing efforts, in contrast, did lead to significant reductions in health risks. We conclude that simple dissemination of the data was ineffective (and even counterproductive in some instances), and that the states' data processing efforts have played a critical role in achieving the TRI's intended policy goal by providing better information to end users. © 2010 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Suggested Citation

  • Hyunhoe Bae & Peter Wilcoxen & David Popp, 2010. "Information disclosure policy: Do state data processing efforts help more than the information disclosure itself?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(1), pages 163-182.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:29:y:2010:i:1:p:163-182
    DOI: 10.1002/pam.20483
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Janet Currie, 2011. "Inequality at Birth: Some Causes and Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 1-22, May.
    2. Hyunhoe Bae, 2012. "Reducing Environmental Risks by Information Disclosure: Evidence in Residential Lead Paint Disclosure Rule," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(2), pages 404-431, March.
    3. Daniel Matisoff, 2015. "Sources of specification errors in the assessment of voluntary environmental programs: understanding program impacts," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 48(1), pages 109-126, March.
    4. Emiko Inoue, 2016. "Environmental disclosure and innovation activity: Evidence from EU corporations," Discussion papers e-16-012, Graduate School of Economics , Kyoto University.
    5. Matisoff, Daniel C., 2013. "Different rays of sunlight: Understanding information disclosure and carbon transparency," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 579-592.
    6. repec:eee:enepol:v:117:y:2018:i:c:p:151-159 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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