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Incentives for Pollution Control: Regulation or (and?) Information


  • Jérôme Foulon
  • Paul Lanoie
  • Benoit Laplante


An increasing number of regulators have adopted public disclosure programs to create incentives for pollution control. In this paper, we study the impact of British Columbia's list of polluters whereby the province's environmental regulator reveals the name of plants which are either not complying with the regulation or are of concern to the regulator. Simultaneously however, the regulator continues to undertake legal action for those violating the regulation. Previous analyses have focused on studying either the impact of the traditional monitoring and enforcement practices or the impact of information programs. In this paper, we perform an empirical analysis of the impact of both traditional enforcement and information strategies within the context of a single program. We thus provide insights on the relative impact of the traditional (fines and penalties) and emerging (information) enforcement strategies. Our results suggest that British Columbia's list of polluters has a larger impact on both emissions levels and compliance status than orders, fines and penalties traditionally imposed by the Ministry and courts. Our results also demonstrate that the adoption of stricter standards and penalties had a significant impact on emissions levels. De plus en plus de décideurs publics dans le domaine de l'environnement ont adopté des politiques de diffusion de l'information pour créer des incitations à une meilleure performance environnementale. Dans cette étude, nous examinons l'impact d'une liste noire de pollueurs publiée à tous les six mois, depuis 1990, par le Ministère de l'environnement en Colombie-Britannique qui, parallèlement à cela, poursuit une stratégie traditionnelle de contrôle et de mise en application de la réglementation. Les recherches précédentes ont examiné de façon isolée l'impact des mesures traditionnelles de réglementation et l'impact des programmes d'information, alors que nous proposons d'étudier simultanément les effets de ces deux types de mesures. Ce faisant, nous pourrons avoir une idée de l'impact relatif des mesures traditionnelles et émergentes. Nos résultats suggèrent que la liste des pollueurs de Colombie-Britannique a eu un impact plus important que les poursuites et les amendes traditionnellement émises par les autorités gouvernementales. Nos résultats montrent également que l'adoption de normes environnementales plus strictes a eu un effet important sur la performance environnementale des usines étudiées.

Suggested Citation

  • Jérôme Foulon & Paul Lanoie & Benoit Laplante, 1999. "Incentives for Pollution Control: Regulation or (and?) Information," CIRANO Working Papers 99s-11, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:99s-11

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. W. Bentley MacLeod & Daniel Parent, 1999. "Job characteristics, wages, and the employment contract," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 13-27.
    2. Eric Ghysels & Denise R. Osborn & Paulo M. M. Rodrigues, 1999. "Seasonal Nonstationarity and Near-Nonstationarity," CIRANO Working Papers 99s-05, CIRANO.
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    Cited by:

    1. Keren Priyadarshini & Omprakash K. Gupta, 2003. "Compliance to Environmental Regulations: The Indian Context," International Journal of Business and Economics, College of Business and College of Finance, Feng Chia University, Taichung, Taiwan, vol. 2(1), pages 9-26, April.
    2. Bernard Sinclair-Desgagné, 2000. "Environmental Risk Management and the Business Firm," CIRANO Working Papers 2000s-23, CIRANO.
    3. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 2002. "Imperfect observability of emissions and second-best emission and output taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 385-407, September.

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    Regulation; information; Information; réglementation;

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