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Salience of law enforcement: A field experiment

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  • Dur, Robert
  • Vollaard, Ben

Abstract

We conduct a field experiment to examine whether the deterrent effect of law enforcement depends on the salience of law enforcement activity. Our focus is on illegal disposal of household garbage in residential areas. At a random subset of 56 locations in a mid-sized city, law enforcement officers supplemented their regular enforcement activities by the practice of putting brightly-colored warning labels on illegally disposed garbage bags. This treatment made the existing enforcement activities suddenly much more apparent to residents. We find evidence for a substantial reduction in illegal disposal of garbage in response to the treatment.

Suggested Citation

  • Dur, Robert & Vollaard, Ben, 2019. "Salience of law enforcement: A field experiment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 208-220.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:93:y:2019:i:c:p:208-220
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2018.11.011
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Marcelo L. Bérgolo & Rodrigo Ceni & Guillermo Cruces & Matias Giaccobasso & Ricardo Perez-Truglia, 2017. "Tax Audits as Scarecrows: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 23631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Mungan, Murat C., 2019. "Salience and the severity versus the certainty of punishment," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 95-100.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Law enforcement; Deterrence; Perception; Salience; Disorder;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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