Voluntary approaches to environmental problems: Exploring the rise of nontraditional public policy

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Government reliance on voluntary programs represents a significant shift in public policy: moving from command and control regulations to market based mechanisms. This article explores the determinants of Voluntary Remediation Programs (VRPs) in the American States. During the 1980s and 1990s, 44 states adopted VRPs to facilitate remediation of existing hazardous waste sites. Relying on diffusion of innovation theory, I develop a model of state policy adoption that explores the influence of internal state political and economic factors, as well as testing the influence of regional and top-down diffusion forces. I utilize a discrete-time event history approach to test this model. The results indicate that state policymaking is responsive to interest group pressure and the pace of cleanup at hazardous waste sites. Additionally, state policymaking is consistently influenced by the actions of surrounding state governments; the probability of adopting a voluntary program increases if surrounding states have already developed these policies. © 2007 The Policy Studies Journal.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Environmental policy
  • Hazardous waste
  • Policy adoption
  • Voluntary remediation programs

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  • Dorothy M. Daley

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