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Assessing Voluntary Commitments: Monitoring is Not Enough!

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  • Böhringer, Christoph
  • Frondel, Manuel

Abstract

This paper deals with a special type of voluntary approach to protect the environment, for example, that we would like to term voluntary commitment. Its major characteristic is that it represents a unilateral declaration without a decisively active role of regulators. In other words, voluntary commitments are, by definition, not the result of intensive mutual negotiations between participants and regulators. By combining theoretical considerations on the economic rationale for the popularity of voluntary commitments with an investigation of principal conceptual and statistical problems regarding their empirical assessment, it seems unlikely that voluntary commitments generally trigger significant deviations from business-as-usual. This casts doubt on the effectiveness and, hence, the efficiency of this specific type of voluntary approach. Effectiveness, guaranteed through more demanding goals, requires intensive mutual negotiations – monitoring is not enough.

Suggested Citation

  • Böhringer, Christoph & Frondel, Manuel, 2002. "Assessing Voluntary Commitments: Monitoring is Not Enough!," ZEW Discussion Papers 02-62, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:1337
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/23963/1/dp0262.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Arora Seema & Cason Timothy N., 1995. "An Experiment in Voluntary Environmental Regulation: Participation in EPA's 33/50 Program," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 271-286, May.
    2. Khanna, Madhu, 2001. " Non-mandatory Approaches to Environmental Protection," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(3), pages 291-324, July.
    3. Karine Nyborg, 2000. "Voluntary Agreements and Non-Verifiable Emissions," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 17(2), pages 125-144, October.
    4. Christoph Bohringer, 2002. "Climate Politics from Kyoto to Bonn: From Little to Nothing?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 51-71.
    5. 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.
    6. Wu, JunJie & Babcock, Bruce A., 1995. "Optimal Design Of A Voluntary Green Payment Program Under Asymmetric Information," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 20(02), December.
    7. Wu, JunJie & Babcock, Bruce A., 1999. "The Relative Efficiency of Voluntary vs Mandatory Environmental Regulations," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 158-175, September.
    8. Rennings, Klaus & Brockmann, Karl Ludwig & Bergmann, Heidi, 1997. "Voluntary Agreements in Environmental Protection - Experiences in Germany and Future Perspectives," ZEW Discussion Papers 97-04, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    9. Frondel, Manuel & Schmidt, Christoph M., 2005. "Evaluating environmental programs: The perspective of modern evaluation research," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 515-526, December.
    10. Anna Alberini & Kathleen Segerson, 2002. "Assessing Voluntary Programs to Improve Environmental Quality," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 22(1), pages 157-184, June.
    11. Alberto Cavaliere, 2000. "Overcompliance and Voluntary Agreements," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 17(2), pages 195-202, October.
    12. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Norbert Eickhof, 2003. "Freiwillige Selbstverpflichtungen aus wirtschaftswissenschaftlicher Sicht," Volkswirtschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 61, Universität Potsdam, Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    2. Konnola, Totti & Unruh, Gregory C. & Carrillo-Hermosilla, Javier, 2006. "Prospective voluntary agreements for escaping techno-institutional lock-in," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 239-252, May.
    3. Eickhof Norbert, 2004. "Selbstverpflichtungen im Bereich des Umweltschutzes," ORDO. Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, De Gruyter, vol. 55(1), pages 269-286, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Voluntary Agreements; Counterfactual; Evaluation;

    JEL classification:

    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy
    • C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General

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