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Muddling Through while Environmental Regulatory Capacity Evolves: What Role for Voluntary Agreements?

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  • Blackman, Allen

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Sisto, Nicholas

Abstract

The city of León, Guanajuato, is Mexico’s leather goods capital and a notorious environmental hotspot. Over the past two decades, four high-profile voluntary agreements aimed at controlling pollution from León’s tanneries have yielded few concrete results. To understand why, this paper reconstructs the history of these initiatives, along with that of local environmental regulatory capacity. Juxtaposing these two timelines suggests that the voluntary pollution control agreements were both motivated by—and undermined by—gaps in the legal, institutional, physical, and civic infrastructures needed to make regulation effective. Our analysis offers a concrete definition of environmental regulatory capacity, provides insights into how it evolves, and demonstrates its importance. Moreover, it sheds light on the question of whether voluntary environmental agreements—an increasingly popular regulatory tool—are likely to be effective in developing countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Blackman, Allen & Sisto, Nicholas, 2005. "Muddling Through while Environmental Regulatory Capacity Evolves: What Role for Voluntary Agreements?," Discussion Papers dp-05-16, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-05-16
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    File URL: http://www.rff.org/RFF/documents/RFF-DP-05-16.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Allen Blackman & Arne Kildegaard, 2010. "Clean technological change in developing-country industrial clusters: Mexican leather tanning," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 12(3), pages 115-132, September.
    2. 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.
    3. Segerson, Kathleen & Miceli, Thomas J., 1998. "Voluntary Environmental Agreements: Good or Bad News for Environmental Protection?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 109-130, September.
    4. Blackman, Allen & Harrington, Winston, 1999. "The Use of Economic Incentives in Developing Countries: Lessons from International Experience with Industrial Air Pollution," Discussion Papers dp-99-39, Resources For the Future.
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    Cited by:

    1. D. W. Kinkini Hemachandra, 2015. "Adoption of Voluntary Environmental Practices: Evidence from the Textile and Apparel Industry in Sri Lanka," Working Papers id:7134, eSocialSciences.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    environment; voluntary agreement; regulatory capacity; Latin America; Mexico;

    JEL classification:

    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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