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Using emission standards under incomplete compliance


  • Sandra Rousseau

    () (K.U.Leuven, C.E.S., Energy, Transport and Environment)

  • Carole M. Billiet

    (Ghent University, Centre for Environmental Law)


Using the case study of water pollution in the Flemish textile industry, we discuss three empirical questions concerning the use of emission standards. We find that the Becker result ("maximal fine / minimal inspection") does not hold if we include rule making, implementation and enforcement costs into the model. There is a balance between the fine and the inspection variables. Making enforcement more stringent does not mean to put the fine levels as high as possible and only then increase the inspections. We have also shown that is extremely important to have correct estimates of people's willingness to pay for environmental improvement. These WTP estimates determine in great part the optimal environmental strategy and its associated optimal monitoring and enforcement policy. Moreover, it really pays off to optimise the monitoring and enforcement strategy associated with an emission standard. This optimisation does not necessarily mean that monitoring and enforcement should be as stringent as possible. It is often possible to obtain the desired result by some intermediate value of the monitoring and enforcement parameters. This is due to the balancing of costs and benefits associated with monitoring and enforcement.

Suggested Citation

  • Sandra Rousseau & Carole M. Billiet, 2003. "Using emission standards under incomplete compliance," Energy, Transport and Environment Working Papers Series ete0303, KU Leuven, Department of Economics - Research Group Energy, Transport and Environment.
  • Handle: RePEc:ete:etewps:ete0303

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Don Fullerton, 2001. "A Framework to Compare Environmental Policies," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 224-248, October.
    2. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams III, Roberton C. & Burtraw, Dallas, 1999. "The cost-effectiveness of alternative instruments for environmental protection in a second-best setting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 329-360, June.
    3. S. Proost & D. Regemorter, 1995. "The double dividend and the role of inequality aversion and macroeconomic regimes," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 2(2), pages 207-219, August.
    4. Jensen, Jesper & Rasmussen, Tobias N., 2000. "Allocation of CO2 Emissions Permits: A General Equilibrium Analysis of Policy Instruments," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 111-136, September.
    5. Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams, Roberton III & Goulder, Lawrence H., 1999. "When Can Carbon Abatement Policies Increase Welfare? The Fundamental Role of Distorted Factor Markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 52-84, January.
    6. A. Lans Bovenberg & Lawrence H. Goulder, 2001. "Neutralizing the Adverse Industry Impacts of CO2 Abatement Policies: What Does It Cost?," NBER Chapters,in: Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy, pages 45-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Ottar Mæstad, 2001. "Efficient Climate Policy with Internationally Mobile Firms," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 19(3), pages 267-284, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sandra Rousseau & Stef Proost, 2005. "Comparing Environmental Policy Instruments in the Presence of Imperfect Compliance – A Case Study," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(3), pages 337-365, November.

    More about this item


    Environmental Law; Illegal behaviour; Enforcement of Law;

    JEL classification:

    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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