The role of Polish environmental funds: Too generous or too restrictive? 1
In many countries, and particularly in the economies in transition in Central and Eastern Europe, public environmental funds play an important role in financing environmental investments. These funds provide subsidized financing through grants and soft loans in response to market failures that limit environmental investors' access to capital markets or poorly account for the benefits of environmental improvements. The principal question explored in the paper is whether environmental funds are too generous or too selective in co-financing environmental projects. The authors conducted a survey of applicants whose applications to Polish environmental funds were rejected following appraisal by the funds in 1994. Applicants were contacted to determine whether they had been able to close the financing 'gap' by the end of 1995 that had resulted from the rejection of their application by the Fund. Survey results indicate that a large majority of respondents have secured substitute gap financing and proceeded with their planned investments, suggesting that the fund's assistance was not essential for these projects to be implemented. Generally, the financing gap had been closed by financing from another environmental fund, from own resources, and less frequently from the same fund (after resubmitting a modified proposal). Only in few instances have proposed projects been abandoned.
1 The authors wish to acknowledge research assistance provided by Sebastian Tomala and Anna Bartczak, who carried out computations at the Warsaw Ecological Economics Center. Laurie Manderino of the Harvard Institute for International Development offered valuable comments on a previous version of the paper. We are also grateful to two anonymous referees for extremely useful criticism and revision suggestions. Of course, the usual disclaimer applies.