The overall objective of this research project is to determine how the ownership status of a regulated facility affects its environmental performance, and the implications this may have for the effectiveness of community-based forms of regulation. Specific objectives include the establishment of: (1) whether absentee-owned plants and subsidiaries have higher levels and rates of emission than other plants, (2) whether these effects are compounded when facilities are larger or older, and (3) whether larger, older, absentee-owned plants and subsidiaries are more or less likely to reduce their emissions in response to states' right-to-know programs.
A data file consisting of 2,033 chemical plants was successfully constructed and includes measures of each plant's toxic releases (from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Toxics Release Inventory), the right-to-know programs of its state (from the National Conference of State Legislatures), its ownership status, and other relevant organizational characteristics (from the Dun and Bradstreet Company). Regression analysis was subsequently conducted, the results of which have been presented in a conference paper and three others submitted for publication.
Findings to date generally confirm the idea that ownership status impacts environmental performance. They also suggest ownership status conditions, the environmental effects of organizational characteristics, and citizen-based forms of regulation. For example, with respect to absentee ownership, results indicate that the average amount of toxins released by absentee-owned facilities or those with out-of-state headquarters (1.2 million toxic pounds) is nearly 3 times more than plants with in-state headquarters (407,000 toxic pounds), and 15 times more than single location enterprises (80,000 toxic pounds). The emission rates of absentee-owned plants are particularly high when they also are large. At the same time, findings suggest that absentee-owned plants will emit toxins at a significantly lower rate if located in states that actively promote communities' right-to-know and provide funding mechanisms for such purposes. (Subsidiaries were found to have similar direct and indirect effects, though less substantial.) Hence, the study's findings support the premise of the Corporate Environmental Performance and the Effectiveness of Government Interventions program that organizational forms matter for emission outcomes as well as condition the success of new "regulation through information" approaches.
We will continue to collect and analyze data to discover and/or confirm results.
Publications and Presentations:
Grant D, Jones A. Are subsidiaries more prone to pollute? Social Science Quarterly.2003, Volume: 84, Number: 1 (MAR), Page: 162-173.
Grant D, Jones A. Does absentee ownership cause environmental degradation: new evidence from the United States Environmental Protection Agency Toxics Release Inventory. American Journal of Sociology.
Grant D, Jones A. The differential effects of right-to-know laws on toxic emissions. Social Problems.
chemicals, sustainable development, social science, Economic, Social, and Behavioral Science Research Program, regulatory flexibility analysis, RFA, scientific discipline, sustainable industry/business, corporate performance, economics, business, social science, citizen participation, community involvement, corporate environmental behavior, environmental behavior, motivators, organizational structure, ownership status, plant emissions, public reporting, right-to-know programs. , Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, Corporate Performance, Economics and Business, Social Science, citizen participation, community involvement, corporate environmental behavior, environmental behavior, motivators, organizational structure, ownership status, plant emissions, public reporting, right-to-know programs