Research Projects

Reducing Industrial Accidents, Worker Chemical Exposure and Pollution in the Chemical Industry

PI Shanti Gamper-Rabindran and Stephen Finger

Industry self-regulation, voluntary programs and information disclosure programs have become exceedingly important in risky industries, with the decline in regulatory budgets and the increasing costs of traditional regulations. We construct a detailed database of about 3,000 chemical plants in the US over a decade, with economic, environmental and regulatory information. We find that industry self-regulation and voluntary standards, in the presence of effective liability laws, can effectively reduce industrial accidents and worker exposure to toxic chemicals, respectively.[1,2] However, when complementary liability laws are absent, self-regulation programs are not likely to reduce pollution. [3, 4] Our research also finds that mandatory pollution disclosure programs, aimed at reducing chemical factories' pollution releases into the environment, is associated with a decline in workers' exposure to chemicals inside these factories. [5]

Acknowledgement: National Science Foundation SES 1127223 and BCS 0351058, Central Research Development Fund, European Union Center for Excellence, University Center for International Studies, Center for Industry Studies. 

[1] S. Finger and S. Gamper-Rabindran. Testing the effects of self-regulation on industrial accidents.  Journal of Regulatory Economics  , 43(2) 2013:115-146

[2] S. Finger and S. Gamper-Rabindran. Voluntary versus mandatory standards: Protecting workers from adverse chemical exposure. Center for Industry Studies WP # 36, 2012.

[3] S. Gamper-Rabindran. Did the EPA's voluntary Industrial Toxics program reduce plants' emissions? A GIS analysis of distributional impacts and a by-media analysis of substitution.  Journal of Environmental Economics and Management  52(1) 2006:391-410.

[4] S. Gamper-Rabindran and S. Finger. Does self-regulation reduce pollution? Responsible Care program in the chemical industry  . Journal of Regulatory Economics,  43(1) 2013: 1-30.

[5]S. Finger and S. Gamper-Rabindran. Mandatory disclosure of plant emissions into the environment and worker chemical exposure inside plants.  Ecological Economics,  87, 2013: 124-136.



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