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Firms’ Compliance to Environmental Regulation: Is There Really a Paradox?

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  • Karine Nyborg
  • Kjetil Telle

    ()

Abstract

It has often been claimed that firms’ compliance to environmental regulations is higher than predicted by standard theory, a result labeled the “Harrington paradox” in the literature. Enforcement data from Norway presented here appears, at first glance, to confirm this “stylized fact”: firms are inspected less than once a year, detected violators are seldom fined, but still, serious violations seem relatively rare. However, at a closer look, the pattern seems less paradoxical: enforcement of minor violations is lax, but such violations do flourish; serious violations, on the other hand, are subject to credible threats of harsh punishment, and such violations are more uncommon. This seems quite consistent with predictions from standard theory. We argue that the empirical existence of the Harrington paradox is not well documented in the international literature. The claim that firms’ compliance with environmental regulations is generally higher than predicted by standard theory should thus be regarded as a hypothesis rather than an established fact. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10640-006-9001-7
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 35 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 1-18

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:35:y:2006:i:1:p:1-18

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100263

Related research

Keywords: compliance; enforcement; environmental performance; Harrington paradox; K32; K42; Q28; L51;

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Cited by:
  1. Telle, Kjetil, 2013. "Monitoring and enforcement of environmental regulations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 24-34.
  2. Suurmond, Guido, 2007. "The effects of the enforcement strategy," MPRA Paper 21142, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Timo Goeschl & Johannes Jarke, 2013. "The warnings puzzle: an upstream explanation," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 339-360, December.
  4. Sarah Stafford, 2013. "How predictable are environmental compliance inspections?," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 361-388, December.
  5. Kjetil Telle, 2009. "The threat of regulatory environmental inspection: impact on plant performance," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 154-178, April.
  6. Holstein, Fredrik & Gren, Ing-Marie, 2013. "Violation of environmental regulations in Sweden: Economic motives, environmental attitudes, and social capital," Working Paper Series 2013:3, Department Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
  7. Rousseau, Sandra & Telle, Kjetil, 2010. "On the existence of the optimal fine for environmental crime," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 329-337, December.
  8. Rousseau, Sandra, 2009. "The use of warnings in the presence of errors," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 191-201, September.
  9. Kjetil Telle, 2012. "Monitoring and enforcement of environmental regulations. Lessons from a natural field experiment in Norway," Discussion Papers 680, Research Department of Statistics Norway.

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  1. Harrinqton paradoksu in Wikipedia (Azerbaijani)
  2. Harrington paradox in Wikipedia (English)

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