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Coerced Confessions: Self-Policing in the Shadow of the Regulator

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  • Michael W. Toffel

Abstract

As part of a recent trend toward more cooperative relations between regulators and industry, novel government programs are encouraging firms to monitor their own regulatory compliance and voluntarily report their own violations. In this study, we examine how regulatory enforcement activities influence organizations' decisions to self-police. We created a comprehensive data set for the "Audit Policy," a United States Environmental Protection Agency program that encourages companies to self-disclose violations of environmental laws and regulations in exchange for reduced sanctions. We find that facilities are more likely to self-disclose if they were recently subjected to one of several different enforcement measures and if they were provided with immunity from prosecution for self-disclosed violations. The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Yale University. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

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  • Michael W. Toffel, 2008. "Coerced Confessions: Self-Policing in the Shadow of the Regulator," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 45-71, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:24:y:2008:i:1:p:45-71
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/jleo/ewm039
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Friesen, Lana & Gangadharan, Lata, 2013. "Designing self-reporting regimes to encourage truth telling: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 90-102.
    2. Guerrero, Santiago & Innes, Robert, 2008. "Statutory Rewards to Environmental Self-Auditing: Do They Reduce Pollution and Save Regulatory Costs? Evidence from a Cross-State Panel," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 6204, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    3. Etienne, Julien, 2010. "Self-reporting untoward events to external controllers: accounting for reporting failure by a top tier chemical plant," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 36546, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. repec:kap:jbuset:v:145:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2889-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Robert C. Seamans, 2012. "Fighting City Hall: Entry Deterrence and Technology Upgrades in Cable TV Markets," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(3), pages 461-475, March.
    6. Chonnikarn Fern Jira & Michael W. Toffel, 2011. "Engaging Supply Chains in Climate Change," Harvard Business School Working Papers 12-026, Harvard Business School, revised Oct 2012.
    7. Thomas P. Lyon & John W. Maxwell, 2014. "Self-Regulation and Regulatory Flexibility: Why Firms May be Reluctant to Signal Green," Working Papers 2014-11, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    8. Evans, Mary F. & Liu, Lirong & Stafford, Sarah L., 2015. "Standardization and the impacts of voluntary program participation: Evidence from environmental auditing," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 10-21.
    9. Earnhart, Dietrich & Mark Leonard, J., 2016. "Environmental audits and signaling: The role of firm organizational structure," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 1-22.
    10. Michael W. Toffel & Jodi L. Short & Melissa Ouellet, 2012. "Codes in Context: How States, Markets, and Civil Society Shape Adherence to Global Labor Standards," Harvard Business School Working Papers 13-045, Harvard Business School, revised Sep 2014.
    11. Lamar Pierce & Michael W. Toffel, 2010. "The Role of Organizational Scope and Governance in Strengthening Private Monitoring," Harvard Business School Working Papers 11-004, Harvard Business School, revised Feb 2012.
    12. Christopher Marquis & Michael W. Toffel & Yanhua Zhou, 2011. "Scrutiny, Norms, and Selective Disclosure: A Global Study of Greenwashing," Harvard Business School Working Papers 11-115, Harvard Business School, revised Jul 2015.
    13. Lars Hansen & Frank Jensen & Linda Nøstbakken, 2014. "Quota Enforcement in Resource Industries: Self-Reporting and Differentiated Inspections," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 58(4), pages 539-562, August.
    14. Michael W. Toffel & Jodi L. Short, 2011. "Coming Clean and Cleaning Up: Does Voluntary Self-Reporting Indicate Effective Self-Policing?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(3), pages 609-649.
    15. Mary F. Evans & Lirong Liu & Sarah L. Stafford, 2012. "Firm Decision-making Structure and Compliance with Environmental Regulations: Evidence from Environmental Auditing," Working Papers 124, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
    16. repec:kap:regeco:v:52:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11149-017-9329-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Earnhart, Dietrich & Harrington, Donna Ramirez, 2014. "Effect of audits on the extent of compliance with wastewater discharge limits," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 243-261.
    18. Erin Marie Reid & Michael W. Toffel, 2008. "Responding to Public and Private Politics: Corporate Disclosure of Climate Change Strategies," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-019, Harvard Business School, revised Jun 2009.

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