Extant research is inconclusive about whether policies that allow citizen participation in environmental regulation reduce pollution. This study attempts to advance our understanding of these new forms of regulation by empirically investigating the effects of State-sponsored right-to-sue and right-to-know provisions. This research utilizes data from the Toxic Release Inventory in a pooled, cross-sectional, time-series analysis of State patterns of industrial toxic emissions. Findings indicate that, net of other predictors, States that have right-to-sue laws or that provide substantial funding for right-to-know programs have significantly lower rates of toxic emissions over time. Results are consistent with the arguments of conflict environmental sociologists, who suggest that, unless citizens are provided real resources to mobilize their interests, citizen participation schemes will tend to be only symbolic gestures

Allowing citizen participation in environmental regulation : An empirical analysis of the effects of right-to-sue and right-to-know provisions on industry’s toxic emissions : Research on the environment = Permettre la participation des citoyens en matière de régulation environnementale : une analyse empirique des effets des dispositions liées au droit d’entamer des procédures judiciaires et au droit au savoir concernant les émissions toxiques des industries