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Executive Summary

This brief report presents simplified frameworks for quantitative database analysis of specific and general deterrence of environmental monitoring and enforcement. The goal of the report is to present metrics that are technically rigorous, yet cost-effective for future in-house use by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA). Here, cost-effective means easily replicable with modest training.

Presented methods are based upon the recent published empirical literature. We focus on methods developed from existing peer-reviewed studies to ensure the basic approach is of known value to OECA, the EPA, EPA stakeholders, and other interested parties. Simplified frameworks for specific deterrence measurement follow noted publications by Gray and co-authors. Simplified frameworks for general deterrence measurement follow noted publications by Shimshack and Ward.

Two key findings emerge: (1) Simplified, cost-effective quantitative database methods exist to measure the specific and general deterrence of environmental monitoring and enforcement. (2) When benchmarked against data analyzed in the pre- existing literature, presented metrics produce deterrence effects approximately equal to those reported in published studies. In other words, the easily implemented methods discussed in this report typically produce similar results to the more sophisticated and expensively implemented academic methods.

Key recommendations, based upon the author’s subjective professional assessment, are: (1) In the short-run, OECA and its contractors should apply this study’s models to approximately 4 additional sector / pollution media combinations. (2) In the longer run, OECA should consider applying the simplified deterrence measurement models to additional datasets created from the extensive data available to the EPA. (3) Particular care should be paid to the issue of reverse causality in the estimation of specific deterrence effects. (4) If robust and theoretically consistent results emerge, deterrence estimates from the simplified models should help inform OECA and Agency management decisions, along with other relevant considerations.


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