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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)692-711
Number of pages20
JournalLand Economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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