Working Paper

Firm Visibility and Voluntary Environmental Behavior: Evidence from Hydraulic Fracturing

Jun 17, 2016 | Zhongmin Wang

Abstract

Larger firms are often found to be more likely to participate in voluntary environmental programs, but few studies have investigated the mechanism through which firm size matters. This paper studies oil and gas firms’ likelihood of voluntarily disclosing information about hydraulic fracturing, an industrial process that has revolutionized the natural gas industry and involves the use of toxic chemicals. I find evidence that it is through firm visibility that firm size matters in this context. My findings suggest that voluntary approaches to environmental protection are unlikely to be effective if many targeted firms are not visible to the public.