Environmental Inspections and Emissions of the Pulp and Paper Industry: The Case of Quebec
World Bank - Research Department
World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 1447
Both inspections and the threat of inspections reduce pollution emissions. Moreover, inspections induce plants to report their emissions levels more frequently to regulators.
Since the early 1970s, industrial countries have enacted (or amended) many environmental laws and regulations to control and improve air and water quality. Developing countries are increasingly enacting similar legislation. But imposing a ceiling on a plant's emissions does not guarantee reduced emissions or an improved environment. Ensuring the attainment of the regulation's objectives requires monitoring the behavior of the regulated facility and enforcing environmental standards. Most of the literature in environmental economics is theoretical and simply assumes that polluters comply with regulations. Although monitoring and enforcement problems are clearly a pitfall of environmental regulation, little empirical work has been done about the effect of current monitoring strategies on pollution emissions.
Laplante and Rilstone supply an empirical framework for measuring the impact of environmental inspections on plant emissions. They apply it to pulp and paper plants in Quebec for which reliable data were available. The results suggest that both inspections and the threat of inspections reduce pollution emissions. They also show that a plant's decision whether to report its emissions levels to the regulator is not random. Inspections improve the frequency of reporting.
This paper - a product of the Environment, Infrastructure, and Agriculture Division, Policy Research Department - is part of a larger effort in the department to investigate the impact of regulation on environmental performance.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 32working papers series
Date posted: November 19, 2004
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