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Explaining uniformity in rule design: The role of citizen participation in enforcement

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  • Goeschl, Timo
  • Jürgens, Ole

Abstract

Uniform rules incur high aggregate compliance costs when agents are sufficiently heterogeneous. Despite this, uniformity remains a common feature in regulation. Focusing on the monitoring stage of enforcement, this paper highlights an underappreciated benefit of uniform rules. Uniformity of regulation can enhance the productivity of monitoring. We illustrate the general mechanism by showing that in the presence of members of the public that are willing and able to report violations to the regulator at a cost to themselves, uniform rules allow substituting third-party participation for costly own monitoring. However, socially desirable acts may have to be punished to generate deterrence for undesirable acts. Individualizing monitoring and enforcement and citizens acting on welfare considerations do not improve on the outcome.

Suggested Citation

  • Goeschl, Timo & Jürgens, Ole, 2012. "Explaining uniformity in rule design: The role of citizen participation in enforcement," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 166-177.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:32:y:2012:i:1:p:166-177
    DOI: 10.1016/j.irle.2011.12.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Timo Goeschl & Ole Jürgens, 2012. "Environmental quality and welfare effects of improving the reporting capability of citizen monitoring schemes," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 264-286, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Law enforcement; Third-party participation; Standard setting;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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