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The Politics of Market-Based Environmental Regulation: Continuity and Change in Air Pollution Control Policy Conflict

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Objectives. To expand scholarly attention to a neglected area of environmental policy and politics, I attempt to test several empirical propositions drawn from the small body of existing research on the politics of market-based environmental regulation. Methods. I analyze public comments on a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulatory action guiding states on the design of various market-based air pollution control programs. I focus on the types of commenting organizations and the nature, extent, and foundations of their support or opposition to market-based regulatory instruments. Results. I find more support for than opposition to the use of economic incentive programs in air pollution control. The support from business commenters is not surprising, but the level of support expressed by state regulators departs from previous research findings. Environmental groups are the principal dissenters. Overall, the findings suggest both change and continuity in the politics of air pollution control policymaking, with some possibility of a shift in the contours of the advocacy coalitions in the pollution control policy network. Conclusions. Market-based environmental regulation is still an evolving phenomenon in American public policy. Further research on the politics of its development is in order, and the opportunities to pursue such research are substantial.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Clark University

Publication date: 2002-03-01

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