Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 131–155

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

  • Nicholas Powers
  • Allen Blackman
  • Thomas P. Lyon
  • Urvashi Narain

DOI: 10.1007/s10640-011-9465-y

Cite this article as:
Powers, N., Blackman, A., Lyon, T.P. et al. Environ Resource Econ (2011) 50: 131. doi:10.1007/s10640-011-9465-y


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 disclosurePollution controlIndiaPulp and paper

JEL Classification


Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas Powers
    • 1
  • Allen Blackman
    • 2
    • 3
  • Thomas P. Lyon
    • 4
  • Urvashi Narain
    • 5
  1. 1.The Brattle GroupWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Resources for the FutureWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Environment for Development Center for Central America, CentroAgronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE)TurrialbaCosta Rica
  4. 4.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  5. 5.The World BankWashingtonUSA