The Managerial Turn in Environmental Policy
Breaking the Logjam: Environmental Reform for the New Congress and Administration Paper
22 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2009 Last revised: 6 Feb 2012
After several decades’ worth of federal and state regulatory intervention, the quality of the environment in the United States is markedly better today that it was at the founding of the modern environmental era. Nevertheless, environmental regulation remains the target of intense criticism, either for imposing high costs on industry or for failing to address significant environmental problems such as climate change. Environmental law’s twin challenges of excessive costs and unmet needs have prompted growing calls for new regulatory approaches. One such approach directly targets firms’ management of their environmental impacts. Rather than mandating the attainment of emissions targets or the adoption of pollution control technologies, a management-based approach to environmental protection recognizes that polluting firms’ internal management can affect their environmental performance. As explained in this article, experience to date suggests that management-based strategies can sometimes prompt changes in industry behavior and improvements in environmental outcomes. Although a management-based approach is certainly no cure-all for environmental problems, it can be a useful instrument in the policy toolkit, especially for environmental problems that stem from a diverse set of actors, present no clear one-size-fits-all solution, and lack a feasible way for regulators to monitor compliance with performance goals.
Posted paper, uploaded January 2010, is the published version of the working paper originally posted March 2009.
Keywords: environmental law, environmental management, IS0 14001, business and the environment, regulatory reinvention, next generation environmental policy, environmental policy innovation, self-regulation, management-based regulation
JEL Classification: D73, K23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation