1. Purpose and Scope
Regulatory punishment for pollution violations is a mainstay of nearly every industrialized nation’s environmental policy, and a rich theoretical literature examines enforcement in general and environmental enforcement in particular. A smaller empirical literature studies the determinants of environmental compliance and behavior. Understanding real-world factors, however, is essential to the design and implementation of effective and efficient environmental regulation. This report presents simplified frameworks, derived from the relevant empirical literature, for quantitatively measuring the deterrence effects of environmental monitoring and enforcement.
Specifically, this report presents and calibrates simplified frameworks for database analysis of specific and general deterrence of environmental monitoring and enforcement. In this context, specific deterrence refers to the effects of regulatory actions on the evaluated or sanctioned firm itself. General deterrence refers to the effects of regulatory actions aimed at one facility on the environmental performance of other similar facilities. The immediate goal of the report is to present and calibrate 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. The eventual goal of the broader project (summarized in Task 1-5 reports) is to improve the agency’s ability to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of its enforcement and monitoring activities.
Presented metrics and methods are based upon the recent published environmental enforcement literature. We develop methods 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. The simplified frameworks are then calibrated with the data used in the corresponding publications.
As requested in the Statement of Work, this document is limited in scope. As such, it is most effectively considered not solely on its own, but as part of the Office of Research and Development (ORD) and the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance’s (OECA) broader compliance and deterrence research project. Readers of this report are strongly encouraged to first familiarize themselves with the associated “Monitoring, Enforcement, and Environmental Compliance: Understanding Specific and General Deterrence State-of-Science White Paper.”1 The white paper reviews the entire recent policy-relevant environmental compliance literature. Many of the theoretical foundations, statistical concepts, and practical considerations essential to understanding
1 J. Shimshack, Monitoring, Enforcement, and Environmental Compliance: Understanding Specific and General Deterrence, State-of-Science White Paper Prepared for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development and Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. Oct. 2007. Available online at: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/reports/compliance/research/index.html .