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Improving compliance with state environmental regulations


  • Raymond J. Burby
  • Robert G. Paterson


This article reports on empirical tests of two theories for improving compliance with state environmental regulations. One theory argues for centralization of enforcement responsibilities with state agencies, while the other focuses on enforcement strategies, arguing for an approach that emphasizes capacity building and the social and moral bases of compliance in addition to deterrence and the threatened application of sanctions. Using evidence from North Carolina, we show that centralization does not necessarily enhance compliance, but cooperative enforcement strategies can improve the effectiveness of regulations that seek to attain performance standards. Compliance with simpler specification standards, however, can be attained just as well with easier to administer deterrent enforcement strategies based on frequent inspections and adequate sanctions.

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  • Raymond J. Burby & Robert G. Paterson, 1993. "Improving compliance with state environmental regulations," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(4), pages 753-772.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:12:y:1993:i:4:p:753-772 DOI: 10.2307/3325349

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert T. Nakamura & Thomas W. Church & Phillip J. Cooper, 1991. "Environmental dispute resolution and hazardous waste cleanups: A cautionary tale of policy implementation," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(2), pages 204-221.
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    1. E. Dobrolyubova, 2016. "International Experience in Evaluating Effectiveness of Public Control in Occupational Safety," Public administration issues, Higher School of Economics, issue 2, pages 96-110.
    2. PeterJ May & Søren Winter, 1999. "Regulatory enforcement and compliance: Examining Danish agro-environmental policy," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(4), pages 625-651.
    3. Earnhart, Dietrich, 2004. "Regulatory factors shaping environmental performance at publicly-owned treatment plants," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 655-681, July.
    4. Anna Rita Germani, 2007. "The Environmental Enforcement in the Civil and the Common Law Systems. A Case on the Economic Effects of Legal Institutions," Quaderni DSEMS 22-2007, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche, Matematiche e Statistiche, Universita' di Foggia.
    5. Earnhart, Dietrich H. & Glicksman, Robert L., 2015. "Coercive vs. cooperative enforcement: Effect of enforcement approach on environmental management," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 135-146.
    6. Corneliussen, Filippa, 2004. "Justifying non-compliance. A case study of a Norwegian biotech firm," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 36054, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Stafford Sarah L, 2006. "Rational or Confused Polluters? Evidence from Hazardous Waste Compliance," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-33, July.
    8. Lowdermilk, Jamey M. & Templeton, Scott R. & Privette, Charles V., III & Hayes, John C., 2011. "An Economic Analysis Of Sediment Control At Construction Sites: The Case Of Greenville County, South Carolina," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 103976, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    9. Alm, James & Shimshack, Jay, 2014. "Environmental Enforcement and Compliance: Lessons from Pollution, Safety, and Tax Settings," Foundations and Trends(R) in Microeconomics, now publishers, vol. 10(4), pages 209-274, December.
    10. Holstein, Fredrik & Gren, Ing-Marie, 2013. "Violation of environmental regulations in Sweden: Economic motives, environmental attitudes, and social capital," Working Paper Series 2013:3, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department Economics.
    11. Holstein, Fredrik, 2009. "Environmental values - what’s the point?," Department of Economics publications 2205, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics.
    12. Søren C. Winter & Peter J. May, 2001. "Motivation for Compliance with Environmental Regulations," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 675-698.
    13. Christian Engau & Volker Hoffmann, 2011. "Corporate response strategies to regulatory uncertainty: evidence from uncertainty about post-Kyoto regulation," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 44(1), pages 53-80, March.
    14. Sarah L. Stafford, 2011. "Do Environmental Audits Improve Long-term Compliance? Evidence from Manufacturing Facilities in Michigan," Working Papers 117, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
    15. Kaine, Geoff & Murdoch, Helen & Lourey, Ruth & Bewsell, Denise, 2010. "A framework for understanding individual response to regulation," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 531-537, December.
    16. Bishal Bharadwaj, 2016. "Plastic Bag Ban in Nepal: Enforcement and Effectiveness," Working Papers id:11548, eSocialSciences.

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