Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 131-155

First online:

Does Disclosure Reduce Pollution? Evidence from India’s Green Rating Project

  • Nicholas PowersAffiliated withThe Brattle Group Email author 
  • , Allen BlackmanAffiliated withResources for the FutureEnvironment for Development Center for Central America, Centro, Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE)
  • , Thomas P. LyonAffiliated withUniversity of Michigan
  • , Urvashi NarainAffiliated withThe World Bank

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Public disclosure programs that collect and disseminate information about firms’ environmental performance are increasingly popular in both developed and developing countries. Yet little is known about whether they actually improve environmental performance, particularly in the latter setting. We use detailed plant-level survey data to evaluate the impact of India’s Green Rating Project (GRP) on the environmental performance of the country’s largest pulp and paper plants. We find that the GRP drove significant reductions in pollution loadings among dirty plants but not among cleaner ones. This result comports with statistical and anecdotal evaluations of similar disclosure programs. We also find that plants located in wealthier communities were more responsive to GRP ratings, as were single-plant firms.


Public disclosure Pollution control India Pulp and paper

JEL Classification

Q53 Q56 Q58