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Pollution abatement with limited enforcement power and citizen suits

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  • Christian Langpap

Abstract

Federal environmental laws in the U.S. can be enforced by government agencies or by private parties through citizen suits against polluters. Here, I extend the standard enforcement model to examine the role played by citizen suits. The main results from the paper suggest that in a model with limited enforcement power and citizen suits the regulator fully exercises his enforcement power when the expected penalty from a citizen suit is low, but increases his reliance on citizen suits as the expected penalty rises. Whether an enforcement regime that allows private enforcement is efficient depends not only on the relative costs of private and agency enforcement, but also on the changes in inspection costs that may be caused by private enforcement and the expected penalty from losing a citizen suit. These results suggest that in practice private enforcement may lower social costs as long as relatively inexpensive agency enforcement options, such as administrative proceedings, do not preclude citizen suits. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Langpap, 2007. "Pollution abatement with limited enforcement power and citizen suits," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 57-81, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:regeco:v:31:y:2007:i:1:p:57-81
    DOI: 10.1007/s11149-006-9010-z
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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Almer & Timo Goeschl, 2010. "Environmental Crime and Punishment: Empirical Evidence from the German Penal Code," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 86(4), pages 707-726.
    2. 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.
    3. Christian Langpap, 2008. "Self-Reporting and Private Enforcement in Environmental Regulation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 40(4), pages 489-506, August.
    4. Jacoby, Gady & Liu, Mingzhi & Wang, Yefeng & Wu, Zhenyu & Zhang, Ying, 2019. "Corporate governance, external control, and environmental information transparency: Evidence from emerging markets," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 269-283.
    5. Mary F. Evans, 2016. "The Clean Air Act Watch List: An Enforcement and Compliance Natural Experiment," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 627-665.
    6. 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.
    7. Motta, Alberto & Burlando, Alfredo, 2007. "Self reporting reduces corruption in law enforcement," MPRA Paper 5332, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 23 Jun 2007.
    8. Timo Goeschl & Ole Jürgens, 2014. "Criminalizing environmental offences: when the prosecutor’s helping hand hurts," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 199-219, April.
    9. Christian Langpap, 2015. "Voluntary agreements and private enforcement of environmental regulation," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 99-116, February.
    10. Langpap, Christian & Shimshack, Jay P., 2010. "Private citizen suits and public enforcement: Substitutes or complements?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 235-249, May.
    11. Maniloff, Peter & Kaffine, Daniel T., 2021. "Private monitoring and public enforcement: Evidence from complaints and regulation of oil and gas wells," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 108(C).
    12. Jay P. Shimshack, 2014. "The Economics of Environmental Monitoring and Enforcement," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 339-360, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pollution control; Environmental regulation; Compliance; Self-reporting; Enforcement; Citizen suits; D62; L51; K32; K42; Q25;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water

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