Doctoral student writing

Environmental information disclosure policies

  • School: Nottingham Business School
  • Starting: 2018
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Self-funded


Environmental information disclosure policies, where governments release information to the public, have been increasingly popular in recent years. They first emerged in the U.S. but were soon implemented in Europe, and then gradually in Asia. These right-to-know policies (Mastromonaco, 2015) help consumers make informed choices and policymakers design a market-based regulation where the main objective is that firms will be incentivised to mitigate the pollution they produce because of public pressure.

In most cases, there is coordination in information release between countries (such as within the European Union) or between constituent members of larger jurisdictions (such as within the U.S.). That said, there are also cases where countries or regions have adopted unilateral policies. For instance in the European Union, France has developed its national legislation framework whereas Denmark has adopted the UN Global Compact which encourages firms to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies and to report on their implementation. In the U.K., the Companies Act 2006 obliges firms with shares listed on a regulated market in the European Economic Area to disclose non-financial information in their business review. Additionally, while some member states adopted compulsory non-financial reporting, others adopted the “comply or explain” system giving the option to some firms not to report environmental information in circumstances where it is difficult to compile all necessary data in a timely manner to comply with reporting requirements.

In the literature, environmental information disclosure is the so-called “third wave” in pollution control policy (Tietenberg, 1998). It is a relatively recently examined topic on regulating and mitigating pollution compared to the traditional regulatory approach (“first wave”) –see Ryan, 2012; Jaffe et al., 1995 amongst others– and the market-based approach (“second wave”) i.e., issue of tradable permits (Montero, 2002; Pezzey, 2003; Stavins, 1995) and imposition of emission taxes (David et all, 2011; Holland, 2012), both of which are well established both in practice and in literature.

This newer approach to pollution control through information provision addresses the point that environmental degradation occurs when individuals do not internalise fully the costs of their resource exploitation or pollution.  The evidence suggests that disclosure strategies can ultimately motivate polluters to reduce emissions even in the absence of the more traditional regulatory controls.

There is a growing literature on the various aspects and consequences of information disclosure. Hence this project would look at international coordination in pollution information release and investigate how it affects social welfare, firms’ strategies and pollution.


David, M., Nimubona, A.D., Sinclair-Desgagne, B., 2011. Emission taxes and the market for abatement goods and services. Resource and Energy Economics 33, 179-191.
Jaffe, A. B., Peterson, S. R., Portney P. R., Stavins, R. N., 1995. Environmental Regulation and the Competitiveness of U.S. Manufacturing: What Does the Evidence Tell Us?. Journal of Economic Literature 33, 132-163.
Holland, S.P., 2012. Emissions taxes versus intensity standards: Second-best environmental policies with incomplete regulation. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 63, 375-387.
Mastromonaco, R., 2015. Do environmental right-to-know laws affect markets? Capitalization of information in the toxic release inventory. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 71, 54-70.
Montero, J.P., 2002. Permits, standards, and technology innovation. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 44, 23-44.
Pezzey, J., 2003. Emission taxes and tradeable permits: A comparison of views on long run efficiency. Environmental and Resource Economics 26, 329-342.
Ryan, S. P., 2012. The Costs of Environmental Regulation in a Concentrated Industry. Econometrica 80, 1019–1061.
Stavins, R., 1995. Transaction costs and tradeable permits. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 29, 133-148.
Tietenberg, T., 1998. Disclosure strategies for pollution control. Environmental and Resource Economics 11, 587-602.


Eleni Stathopoulou

Entry qualifications

An applicant for admission to read for a PhD should normally hold a first or upper second class honours degree of a UK university or an equivalent qualification, or a lower second class honours degree with a Master's degree at Merit level of a UK university or an equivalent qualification.

International students will also need to meet the English language requirements - IELTS 6.5 (with minimum sub-scores of 6.0). Applicants who have taken a higher degree at a UK university are normally exempt from the English language requirements. A research proposal (between 1,000 and a maximum of 2,000 words) must be submitted as part of the application.

For more information please visit the NTU Doctoral School – Research Degrees webpages.

How to apply

How to apply

Applications are accepted all year round.

Download an application form here.
Please make sure you take a look at our application guidance notes before making your application.

Further information on how to apply can be found on this page.

Fees and funding

This is a self-funded PhD opportunity.

Guidance and support

Further information on guidance and support can be found on this page.

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Eleni Stathopoulou