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The Impact of Team Inspections on Enforcement and Deterrence

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  • Lucija Muehlenbachs
  • Stefan Staubli
  • Mark A. Cohen

Abstract

This paper provides new insights into the productivity of teams. Government enforcement agencies often send teams of inspectors instead of a sole inspector to a regulated facility. Yet, determining the impact of teams is problematic due to endogeneity (e.g., the enforcement agency might naturally send larger teams when they expect more violations). Exploiting weather-related exogenous variation in the number of inspectors who are sent to offshore oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, we show that adding an inspector to a team increases the number of sanctions issued as well as the severity of the sanctions. This increase in sanction severity is larger than that of an additional inspection. Therefore, enforcement agencies may be able to achieve stricter enforcement by reallocating inspectors into larger inspection teams, even if this is at the cost of conducting fewer inspections.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucija Muehlenbachs & Stefan Staubli & Mark A. Cohen, 2016. "The Impact of Team Inspections on Enforcement and Deterrence," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 159-204.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jaerec:doi:10.1086/684035
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicholas J. Sanders & Ryan Sandler, 2017. "Technology and the Effectiveness of Regulatory Programs Over Time: Vehicle Emissions and Smog Checks with a Changing Fleet," NBER Working Papers 23966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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