Weak environmental regulatory institutions in developing countries often undermine conventional command-and-control pollution control policies. As a result, these countries are increasingly experimenting with alternative approaches aimed at leveraging nonregulatory green pressures applied by local communities, capital markets, and consumers. This article reviews three strands of the empirical literature on this trend. The first examines the direct impact of nonregulatory pressures on the environmental performance of developing-country firms. The second and third strands analyze policy innovations in developing countries reputed to leverage these pressurespublic disclosure and voluntary regulation. Overall, these three strands of literature do not provide widespread compelling evidence that alternative pollution control policies spur significant improvements in environmental performance. A handful of reasonably rigorous studiesparticularly those concerning public disclosurepresent positive results, but are overshadowed by a larger number of studies that present negative, inconclusive, or unconvincing results. Therefore, policy makers would do well to exercise caution in promoting and implementing alternative pollution control tools in developing countries: they are only likely to be effective in certain forms and situations.
Review of Environmental Economics and Policy – Oxford University Press
Published: Aug 7, 2010
Keywords: JEL Classification O13 Q52 Q56 Q58
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