Non-Binding Voluntary Agreements
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Vol. 54, 2007
In reality, most voluntary agreements (VAs) with polluters are not enforceable in the sense that no legal tools are available to enforce firms' commitments. We examine whether such VAs are able to achieve an efficient level of environmental protection when they are obtained under the legislative threat of a pollution quota. We show that they can improve social welfare relative to legislative intervention when lobbying congress is very effective and when the polluter and the regulator do not discount future costs and benefits heavily. These findings suggest that VAs should be used selectively, taking into account sector characteristics and the degree of influence of lobbying on congress.
Keywords: Environmental policy, Voluntary agreements, Bargaining, Lobbying, Enforcement
JEL Classification: D72, Q28Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 20, 2008
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