Do Trade Unions Affect Compliance with Environmental Regulation?

44 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2006

Date Written: February 11, 2006

Abstract

The author uses plant-level panel data from the Environmental Protection Agency's Permit Compliance System database to evaluate whether trade unions affect compliance with the Clean Water Act in the chemical manufacturing industries. Compliance is measured by pollution discharges relative to permitted limits and by the number of compliance violations. Results indicate that unionized plants and plants with relatively strong unions discharge more pollution relative to permitted limits than non-unionized plants and plants with relatively weak unions. However, results provide only weak evidence that plants with relatively strong unions incur more compliance violations than plants with relatively weak unions. These results contradict prior theoretical and empirical research that indicates unions have incentives to support stricter environmental regulation. In addition, there is evidence from compliance inspections that contradicts the argument that union members take an interest in environmental quality.

Keywords: Trade Unions, Regulation, Chemicals

JEL Classification: J51, L50, L55

Suggested Citation

Rassier, Dylan G., Do Trade Unions Affect Compliance with Environmental Regulation? (February 11, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=889400 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.889400

Dylan G. Rassier (Contact Author)

Bureau of Economic Analysis ( email )

1441 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20910
United States

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