Using Voluntary Programs to Change Behavior

Finding when voluntary programs work

In recent years, government agencies have increasingly relied on voluntary programs to achieve a variety of goals. This type of government initiative is based on an agreement between the agency and private citizens in which the government provides certain incentives and private actors voluntarily adopt behaviors that benefit the public.

With a focus on two environmental issues—reduction of agricultural impacts on water quality, especially in the Lower Wabash Watershed, and proper cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated sites—Institute Research Fellow Luis Inaraja Vera will provide new insights on when voluntary programs are the best policy tool to address environmental challenges as well as the features that increase their effectiveness. Inaraja Vera’s study will include recommendations to help policymakers improve voluntary cleanup programs and a broad analysis of voluntary programs addressing non-point pollution sources, such as fertilizer runoff.