Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Is the threat of regulation enough to incentivize cooperation from nitrogen polluters?

Posted 01 Jun 2015 / 0

National Public Radio All Things ConsideredIt’s Raining Nitrogen In A Colorado Park. Farmers Can Help Make It Stop

What I find interesting about this example is how the local nature of this problem creates greater incentives for “voluntary” measures taken by polluters to reduce the impacts of their polluting activities. Because the effects of various farming techniques are experienced not far from the farms themselves, there is both greater potential to solve the problem and more reputation at stake for the farmers (for whatever reason, it is more distasteful to pollute your neighbors’ yards than it is to cause pollution effects a world away).

The threat of regulation is potent. If what we need from industries that create major ecological impacts is cooperation to reduce their impacts, it is at least worth exploring the question of whether self-regulation might solve the problem before federal regulators move in.

A Minor Post, Cooperation, Environmental Justice, Eutrophication, Political Science, Pollution, Public Policy, Punishment, Reputation, Social Norms

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