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Weak Enforcement of Environmental Policies: A Tale of Limited Commitment and Limited Fines


  • Yolande Hiriart
  • David Martimort
  • Jérôme Pouyet


When a firm undertakes activities which are risky for the environment, the conflict between social and private incentives to exercise safety care requires imposing fines in case a damage occurs. Introducing asymmetric information on the firm's wealth, we show that the fines and probabilities of investigation are systematically too low compared to their optimal level under complete information. This effect is exacerbated when the public agency in charge can no longer commit to an investigation strategy. Compounding asymmetric information with a government failure provides a possible explanation of the significant trend in practice towards a weak enforcement of environmental policies.

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  • Yolande Hiriart & David Martimort & Jérôme Pouyet, 2011. "Weak Enforcement of Environmental Policies: A Tale of Limited Commitment and Limited Fines," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 103-104, pages 25-42.
  • Handle: RePEc:adr:anecst:y:2011:i:103-104:p:25-42

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    1. Maia David & Bernard Sinclair-Desgagné, 2005. "Environmental Regulation and the Eco-Industry," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 141-155, September.
    2. David, Maia & Nimubona, Alain-Désiré & Sinclair-Desgagné, Bernard, 2011. "Emission taxes and the market for abatement goods and services," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 179-191, January.
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    4. Stefan Ambec & Paul Lanoie, 2007. "When and Why Does It Pay To Be Green?," CIRANO Working Papers 2007s-20, CIRANO.
    5. Requate, Till, 2003. "Commitment and Timing of Environmental Policy, Adoption of New Technology and Repercussions on R&D," Economics Working Papers 2003-07, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    6. Alain-Désiré Nimubona & Bernard Sinclair-Desgagné, 2013. "The Pigouvian Tax Rule in the Presence of an Eco-Industry," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(1), pages 747-752.
    7. Poyago-Theotoky, J.A., 2007. "The organization of R&D and environmental policy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 63-75, January.
    8. Greaker, Mads & Rosendahl, Knut Einar, 2008. "Environmental policy with upstream pollution abatement technology firms," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 246-259, November.
    9. Joan Canton & Antoine Soubeyran & Hubert Stahn, 2008. "Environmental Taxation and Vertical Cournot Oligopolies: How Eco-industries Matter," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 40(3), pages 369-382, July.
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