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http://ssrn.com/abstract=939590
 
 

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The Impacts of the 'Right to Know': Information Disclosure and the Violation of Drinking Water Standards


Lori Snyder Bennear


Duke University - Nicholas School for the Environment

Sheila M. Olmstead


Yale University - School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

March 13, 2008

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Forthcoming

Abstract:     
Information disclosure regulations are increasingly common, but their effects on the behavior of regulated firms are unclear. The 1996 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act mandated that community drinking water suppliers issue to customers annual consumer confidence reports (CCRs), containing information on violations of drinking water regulations and on observed contaminant levels. We examine the impact of mandatory information provision on drinking water violations by 517 community water systems in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 1990-2003. Results suggest that larger utilities required to mail CCRs directly to customers reduced total violations by between 30 and 44% as a result of this policy, and reduced the more severe health violations by 40 to 57%.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 41

Keywords: regulation, information disclosure, water quality, right-to-know, program evaluation

JEL Classification: L51, Q53, Q58, D80

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Date posted: October 25, 2006 ; Last revised: March 16, 2008

Suggested Citation

Bennear, Lori Snyder and Olmstead, Sheila M., The Impacts of the 'Right to Know': Information Disclosure and the Violation of Drinking Water Standards (March 13, 2008). Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=939590 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.939590

Contact Information

Lori Snyder Bennear
Duke University - Nicholas School for the Environment ( email )
Box 90328
Durham, NC 27708-0328
United States
Sheila M. Olmstead (Contact Author)
Yale University - School of Forestry and Environmental Studies ( email )
New Haven, CT 06511
United States
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