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Coming Clean and Cleaning Up: Does Voluntary Self-Reporting Indicate Effective Self-Policing?

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Author Info

  • Michael W. Toffel
  • Jodi L. Short

Abstract

Regulatory agencies are increasingly establishing voluntary self-reporting programs both as an investigative tool and to encourage regulated firms to commit to policing themselves. We investigate whether voluntary self-reporting can reliably indicate effective self-policing efforts that might provide opportunities for enforcement efficiencies. We find that regulators used self-reports of legal violations as a heuristic for identifying firms that are effectively policing their own operations, shifting enforcement resources away from those that voluntarily disclose. We also find that these firms that voluntarily disclosed regulatory violations and committed to self-policing improved their regulatory compliance and environmental performance, which suggests that the enforcement relief they received was warranted. Collectively, our results suggest that self-reporting can be a useful tool for reliably identifying and leveraging the voluntary self-policing efforts of regulated companies.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/658494
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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/658494
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 54 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 609 - 649

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/658494

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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Cited by:
  1. Lana Friesen & Lata Gangadharan, 2011. "Designing Self-Reporting Regimes to Encourage Truth Telling: An Experimental Study," Discussion Papers Series 426, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  2. Blackman, Allen, 2011. "Does Eco-Certification Boost Regulatory Compliance in Developing Countries? ISO 14001 in Mexico," Discussion Papers dp-11-39, Resources For the Future.
  3. Timothy Simcoe & Michael W. Toffel, 2012. "Government Green Procurement Spillovers: Evidence from Municipal Building Policies in California," Harvard Business School Working Papers 13-030, Harvard Business School, revised May 2014.
  4. Anil R. Doshi & Glen W.S. Dowell & Michael W. Toffel, 2011. "How Firms Respond to Mandatory Information Disclosure," Harvard Business School Working Papers 12-001, Harvard Business School, revised Jun 2012.
  5. Timothy Simcoe & Michael W. Toffel, 2012. "Public Procurement and the Private Supply of Green Buildings," NBER Working Papers 18385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Mungan, Murat C., 2012. "Don’t Say You’re Sorry Unless You Mean It: Pricing apologies to achieve credibility," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 178-187.
  7. Jodi L. Short & Michael W. Toffel & Andrea Read Hugill, 2013. "Monitoring the Monitors: How Social Factors Influence Supply Chain Auditors," Harvard Business School Working Papers 14-032, Harvard Business School, revised Feb 2014.
  8. Michael W. Toffel & Jodi L. Short & Melissa Ouellet, 2012. "Codes in Context: How States, Markets, and Civil Society Shape Adherence to Global Labor Standards," Harvard Business School Working Papers 13-045, Harvard Business School, revised May 2014.

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