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Modeling Superfund: A hazardous waste bargaining model with rational threats

Mary Anderson Taft, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This dissertation takes a retrospective look at the first decade of EPA's implementation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act commonly known as Superfund. Two models are employed that reflect EPA's implementation of Superfund: a rational threats game-theoretic bargaining model and a discrete choice empirical model. The game theoretic hazardous waste bargaining model produces an elegant and simple decision rule. Using this decision rule, EPA compares the expected transaction costs incurred because of litigation against EPA's prospects for a court-ordered award. The agency enters into bargaining when the savings from avoiding litigation is equal to the court-ordered award. EPA and the coalition of responsible parties bargain about how to share site clean-up costs (mixed funding) and when successful, enter into a voluntary settlement. The discrete choice empirical analysis reveals that high transaction costs, lengthy delays in site clean-ups and limited enforcement/litigation characterize EPAs implementation of CERCLA during the decade ending in 1990. Differences in how EPA implements this legislation across EPA Regions is explored. Compared to the other Eastern EPA Regions, EPA Region 4 is less likely to litigate and more likely to use Superfund monies to clean up hazardous waste sites.

Subject Area

Agricultural economics|Environmental science|Economics|Public health|Design|Law

Recommended Citation

Taft, Mary Anderson, "Modeling Superfund: A hazardous waste bargaining model with rational threats" (2000). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9988845.