Voluntary Pollution Reduction Programs, Environmental Management, and Environmental Performance: An Empirical Study

Abdoul G. Sam, Madhu Khanna and Robert Innes


This paper examines, empirically, the mechanism by which a voluntary pollution reduction program (VPR) achieves pollution reductions. We find that participation in the 33/50 program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s first VPR, spurred the adoption of total quality environmental management (TQEM), an environmental management system that views pollution as a quality defect to be continuously reduced through the development of products and processes that minimize waste generation at source. We find in turn that TQEM had a significant negative effect on 33/50 releases and that 33/50 participation produced additional direct pollution reduction benefits both during and after the program years. (JEL C23, Q58)

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