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Optimal Enforcement Policy and Firms’ Emissions and Compliance with Environmental Taxes


  • Ines Macho-Stadler
  • David Pérez-Castrillo


In a market where firms with different characteristics decide upon both the level of emissions and their reports, we study the optimal audit policy for an enforcement agency whose objective is to minimize the level of emissions. We show that it is optimal to devote the resources primarily to the easiest-to-monitor firms and to those firms that value pollution the less. Moreover, unless the budget for monitoring is very large, there are always firms that do not comply with the environmental objective and others that do comply; but all of them evade the environmental taxes.

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  • Ines Macho-Stadler & David Pérez-Castrillo, 2004. "Optimal Enforcement Policy and Firms’ Emissions and Compliance with Environmental Taxes," CESifo Working Paper Series 1193, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1193

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Macho-Stadler, Ines & Perez-Castrillo, J David, 2002. "Auditing with Signals," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(273), pages 1-20, February.
    2. Heyes, Anthony, 2002. "A Theory of Filtered Enforcement," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 34-46, January.
    3. Brooks, Nancy & Sethi, Rajiv, 1997. "The Distribution of Pollution: Community Characteristics and Exposure to Air Toxics," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 233-250, February.
    4. Innes, Robert, 1999. "Remediation and self-reporting in optimal law enforcement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 379-393, June.
    5. Franckx, Laurent, 2002. "The Use of Ambient Inspections in Environmental Monitoring and Enforcement When the Inspection Agency Cannot Commit Itself to Announced Inspection Probabilities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 71-92, January.
    6. Lanoie, Paul & Laplante, Benoit & Roy, Maite, 1998. "Can capital markets create incentives for pollution control?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 31-41, July.
    7. Harford, Jon D., 1978. "Firm behavior under imperfectly enforceable pollution standards and taxes," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 26-43, March.
    8. Steven Shavell & A. Mitchell Polinsky, 2000. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 45-76, March.
    9. 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.
    10. Garvie, Devon & Keeler, Andrew, 1994. "Incomplete enforcement with endogenous regulatory choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 141-162, September.
    11. Foulon, Jerome & Lanoie, Paul & Laplante, Benoit, 2002. "Incentives for Pollution Control: Regulation or Information?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 169-187, July.
    12. Bontems, Philippe & Bourgeon, Jean-Marc, 2005. "Optimal environmental taxation and enforcement policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 409-435, February.
    13. Harford, Jon D., 1987. "Self-reporting of pollution and the firm's behavior under imperfectly enforceable regulations," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 293-303, September.
    14. Cropper, Maureen L & Oates, Wallace E, 1992. "Environmental Economics: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 675-740, June.
    15. Kaplow, Louis & Shavell, Steven, 1994. "Optimal Law Enforcement with Self-Reporting of Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 583-606, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. John K. Stranlund, 2006. "Risk Aversion and Compliance in Markets for Pollution Control," Working Papers 2006-2, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Resource Economics.
    2. John Stranlund, 2007. "The regulatory choice of noncompliance in emissions trading programs," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 38(1), pages 99-117, September.
    3. Inés Macho Stadler & David Perez-Castrillo, 2005. "Optimal inspection policy and income-tax compliance," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 173(2), pages 9-45, June.

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    environmental taxes; optimal audit policy;

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