Date of Award

Fall 2010

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Robert D Mohr


There has been a surge in the development of new, non-traditional and innovative approaches to address environmental problems in the last three decades of U.S. environmental policies. These new approaches affect polluting behavior via instruments other than taxes, permits or direct imperatives. They rely heavily on active engagement, collaboration and information sharing among firms and industry peers. This dissertation adds to our current understanding of these newer approaches by studying how external pressures and internal awareness affect a firm's polluting behavior. Two essays focus solely on the role of the print media, an external pressure to firms, under the U.S. Toxic Release Inventory program. It first studies the association of media attention with socio-economic characteristics to help explain some findings associated with "environmental justice". It then studies whether such external pressure imposes reputation costs on a firm so that it may change subsequent toxic releases. The last essay focuses on internal awareness and considers a hypothesis whereby certain flexible forms of environmental regulations can benefit regulated firms by fostering innovation. It is known as the Porter hypothesis. Regulations typically impose costs thereby decreasing a firm's profit increasing opportunities. But this essay derives four examples consistent with the Porter hypothesis, within the standard assumptions of economic theory.