A classification of information-based environmental regulation: Voluntariness, compliance and beyond

Frances Bowen, Samuel Tang, Panos Panagiotopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Alternative approaches to environmental regulation have gained much attention in recent years. Information-based regulation is an increasingly popular type of instrument that refers to the use of ratings, rankings, labels, online inventories and similar public disclosure practices by regulators. Such schemes vary in their design, disclosure formats, mechanisms to influence behaviour and performance. Theoretical and practical questions remain about whether and how regulators can use voluntary and/or beyond compliance disclosures. The article develops a classification of information-based schemes based on whether the scheme is mandatory or voluntary, and whether the disclosures reveal compliance or beyond compliance performance behaviours. The classification is used to show how the different schemes (traditional, assurance, performance and proactive) work in practice with their associated risks, benefits and mechanisms. While regulators are experimenting with this new frontier of regulation, it is not yet clear whether all types of schemes will be sufficiently robust to deliver on the promise they hold for enthusiasts of smart regulation. We conclude with implications and future research questions on the nature of voluntariness and compliance in information-based regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number135571
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume712
Early online date18 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Environmental regulation
  • Information disclosure
  • Performance disclosure
  • Self-regulation
  • Voluntary compliance
  • DESIGN
  • ENERGY PERFORMANCE CERTIFICATES
  • STANDARDS
  • SELF-REGULATION
  • LABELING POLICY
  • IMPACT
  • DISCLOSURE
  • TRANSPARENCY
  • CONSUMER CHOICE
  • GENETICALLY-MODIFIED FOOD

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