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An Experimental Study of Compliance and Leverage in Auditing and Regulatory Enforcement

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  • Timothy N. Cason
  • Lata Gangadharan

Abstract

Evidence suggests that individuals often comply with regulations even though the frequency of inspections and audits is low. We report a laboratory experiment based on the dynamic model suggested by Harrington (1988) to explain this puzzle in which participants move between two inspection groups that differ in the probability of inspection and severity of fine. Enforcement leverage arises in the Harrington model from movement between the groups based on previous observed compliance and noncompliance. We find that compliance behavior does not change as sharply as the model predicts. A simple model of bounded rationality explains these deviations from optimal behavior. (JEL C91, Q20, Q28) Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy N. Cason & Lata Gangadharan, 2006. "An Experimental Study of Compliance and Leverage in Auditing and Regulatory Enforcement," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(2), pages 352-366, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:44:y:2006:i:2:p:352-366
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lana Friesen, 2012. "Certainty of Punishment versus Severity of Punishment: An Experimental Investigation," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 399-421, October.
    2. Lindeboom, Maarten & van der Klaauw, Bas & Vriend, Sandra, 2016. "Audit rates and compliance: A field experiment in care provision," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PB), pages 160-173.
    3. Lindeboom, Maarten & van der Klaauw, Bas & Vriend, Sandra, 2014. "Audit rates and compliance: A field experiment in long-term care," CEPR Discussion Papers 9924, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Tan, Fangfang & Yim, Andrew, 2014. "Can strategic uncertainty help deter tax evasion? An experiment on auditing rules," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 161-174.
    5. Hennig-Schmidt, Heike & Jürges, Hendrik & Wiesen, Daniel, 2018. "Dishonesty in healthcare practice: A behavioral experiment on upcoding in neonatology," HERO On line Working Paper Series 2018:3, Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme.
    6. Takayoshi Shinkuma & Shunsuke Managi, 2012. "Effectiveness of policy against illegal disposal of waste," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 14(2), pages 123-145, April.
    7. Christian A. Vossler & Scott M. Gilpatric, 2017. "Endogenous Tax Audits and Taxpayer Assistance Services: Theory and Experiments," Working Papers 2017-01, University of Tennessee, Department of Economics.
    8. Bigoni, Maria & Le Coq, Chloé & Fridolfsson, Sven-Olof & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2008. "Risk Aversion, Prospect Theory, and Strategic Risk in Law Enforcement: Evidence From an Antitrust Experiment," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 696, Stockholm School of Economics.
    9. Gilpatric, Scott M. & Vossler, Christian A. & Liu, Lirong, 2015. "Using competition to stimulate regulatory compliance: A tournament-based dynamic targeting mechanism," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 182-196.
    10. Cason, Timothy N. & Gangadharan, Lata, 2006. "Emissions variability in tradable permit markets with imperfect enforcement and banking," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 199-216, October.
    11. Giorgio Coricelli & Mateus Joffily & Claude Montmarquette & Marie Villeval, 2010. "Cheating, emotions, and rationality: an experiment on tax evasion," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(2), pages 226-247, June.
    12. Coria, Jessica & Zhang, Xiao-Bing, 2015. "The Harrington Paradox Squared," Working Papers in Economics 608, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • Q20 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - General
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy

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