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The Impact of Voluntary Programs on Polluting Behavior: Evidence from Pollution Prevention Programs and Toxic Releases

  • Linda T. M. Bui

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Brandeis University)

  • Samuel Kapon

    (Undergraduate student, Brandeis University)

We investigate how a class of voluntary environmental initiatives known as pollution prevention (“P2”) programs affect toxic pollution. We construct a data base on federal and state-level P2 programs and exploit variation in adoption dates and program characteristics to study their effects on facility-level releases. We find convincing evidence that these mechanisms can alter polluter behavior. In particular, we find that (1) state P2 programs had a significant impact on average facility level toxic releases, reducing annual releases by 11%-15%; (2) for every $100,000 of federal matching funds awarded for state P2 activities, average facility level releases in the recipient state declined on the order of 1%-1.5%; (3) P2-induced reductions are significantly enhanced by information spillovers, diffused primarily via industry networks rather than geographic proximity; (4) facilities respond to technical assistance programs by reducing toxic releases, but only for substances that are not simultaneously regulated by formal command and control strategies; and (5) facilities respond to filing fees and non-reporting penalties by altering their toxic releases, but only for chemicals that are easily monitored by regulators.

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File URL: http://www.brandeis.edu/departments/economics/RePEc/brd/doc/Brandeis_WP40.pdf
File Function: Revised version, 2011
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School in its series Working Papers with number 40.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision: Nov 2011
Handle: RePEc:brd:wpaper:40
Contact details of provider: Postal: MS032, P.O. Box 9110, Waltham, MA 02454-9110
Web page: http://www.brandeis.edu/departments/economics/

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  1. Maxwell, John W & Lyon, Thomas P & Hackett, Steven C, 2000. "Self-Regulation and Social Welfare: The Political Economy of Corporate Environmentalism," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 583-617, October.
  2. Barla, Philippe, 2005. "ISO 14001 Certification and Environmental Performance in Quebec's Pulp and Paper Industry," Cahiers de recherche 0503, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
  3. Madhu Khanna & George Deltas & Donna Harrington, 2009. "Adoption of Pollution Prevention Techniques: The Role of Management Systems and Regulatory Pressures," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 44(1), pages 85-106, September.
  4. Linda T.M. Bui & Christopher J. Mayer, . "Regulation and Capitalization of Environmental Amenities: Evidence from the Toxic Release Inventory in Massachusetts," Zell/Lurie Center Working Papers 348, Wharton School Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center, University of Pennsylvania.
  5. Thomas P. Lyon & John W. Maxwell, 2008. "Corporate Social Responsibility and the Environment: A Theoretical Perspective," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 2(2), pages 240-260, Summer.
  6. Robert Innes & Abdoul G. Sam, 2008. "Voluntary Pollution Reductions and the Enforcement of Environmental Law: An Empirical Study of the 33/50 Program," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(2), pages 271-296, 05.
  7. Gamper-Rabindran, Shanti, 2006. "Did the EPA's voluntary industrial toxics program reduce emissions? A GIS analysis of distributional impacts and by-media analysis of substitution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 391-410, July.
  8. Kim, Eun-Hee & Lyon, Thomas P., 2011. "Strategic environmental disclosure: Evidence from the DOE's voluntary greenhouse gas registry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 311-326, May.
  9. Brouhle, Keith & Griffiths, Charles & Wolverton, Ann, 2009. "Evaluating the role of EPA policy levers: An examination of a voluntary program and regulatory threat in the metal-finishing industry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 166-181, March.
  10. Khanna, Madhu & Damon, Lisa A., 1999. "EPA's Voluntary 33/50 Program: Impact on Toxic Releases and Economic Performance of Firms," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 1-25, January.
  11. Vidovic, Martina & Khanna, Neha, 2007. "Can voluntary pollution prevention programs fulfill their promises? Further evidence from the EPA's 33/50 Program," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 180-195, March.
  12. Arora, Seema & Gangopadhyay, Shubhashis, 1995. "Toward a theoretical model of voluntary overcompliance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 289-309, December.
  13. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Khanna, Madhu & Quimio, Wilma Rose H. & Bojilova, Dora, 1998. "Toxics Release Information: A Policy Tool for Environmental Protection," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 243-266, November.
  15. Robert Innes, 2006. "A Theory of Consumer Boycotts under Symmetric Information and Imperfect Competition," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(511), pages 355-381, 04.
  16. Konar, Shameek & Cohen, Mark A., 1997. "Information As Regulation: The Effect of Community Right to Know Laws on Toxic Emissions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 109-124, January.
  17. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521860413 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. David P. Baron, 2001. "Private Politics, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Integrated Strategy," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 7-45, 03.
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