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

  • Michael W. Toffel

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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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/jleo/ewm039
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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization.

Volume (Year): 24 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 45-71

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:24:y:2008:i:1:p:45-71
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  1. Robert Innes, 1999. "Self-Policing and Optimal Law Enforcement When Violator Remediation is Valuable," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1305-1325, December.
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  3. Magat, Wesley A & Viscusi, W Kip, 1990. "Effectiveness of the EPA's Regulatory Enforcement: The Case of Industrial Effluent Standards," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 331-60, October.
  4. Epple, Dennis & Visscher, Michael, 1984. "Environmental Pollution: Modeling Occurrence, Detection, and Deterrence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 29-60, April.
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  6. Shimshack, Jay P. & Ward, Michael B., 2005. "Regulator reputation, enforcement, and environmental compliance," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 519-540, November.
  7. Eric Helland, 1998. "The Enforcement Of Pollution Control Laws: Inspections, Violations, And Self-Reporting," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 141-153, February.
  8. James Andreoni & Brian Erard & Jonathan Feinstein, 1998. "Tax Compliance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 818-860, June.
  9. Pfaff, Alexander S P & Sanchirico, Chris William, 2000. "Environmental Self-Auditing: Setting the Proper Incentives for Discovery and Correction of Environmental Harm," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 189-208, April.
  10. Alexander & Chris William Sanchirico & John Lee & Daniel Prager, 2002. "Big field, small potatoes: An empirical assessment of EPA's self-audit policy," Discussion Papers 0102-55, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
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  12. Innes, Robert, 1999. "Remediation and self-reporting in optimal law enforcement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 379-393, June.
  13. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Malik Arun S., 1993. "Self-Reporting and the Design of Policies for Regulating Stochastic Pollution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 241-257, May.
  16. Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 1991. "Optimal Law Enforcement with Self-Reporting of Behavior," NBER Working Papers 3822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Hamilton, James T, 1999. "Exercising Property Rights to Pollute: Do Cancer Risks and Politics Affect Plant Emission Reductions?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 105-24, August.
  18. Harrington, Winston, 1988. "Enforcement leverage when penalties are restricted," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 29-53, October.
  19. Innes, Robert, 2000. "Self-Reporting in Optimal Law Enforcement When Violators Have Heterogeneous Probabilities of Apprehension," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 287-300, January.
  20. Marc D. Shapiro, 2005. "Equity and information: Information regulation, environmental justice, and risks from toxic chemicals," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(2), pages 373-398.
  21. Innes, Robert, 2001. "Violator Avoidance Activities and Self-Reporting in Optimal Law Enforcement," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 239-56, April.
  22. Eric W. Welch & Allan Mazur & Stuart Bretschneider, 2000. "Voluntary behavior by electric utilities: Levels of adoption and contribution of the climate challenge program to the reduction of carbon dioxide," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(3), pages 407-425.
  23. Cohen, Mark A, 1987. "Optimal Enforcement Strategy to Prevent Oil Spills: An Application of a Principal-Agent Model with Moral Hazard," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 23-51, April.
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