IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Environmental Liability and Organizational Structure


  • Laurent Franckx

    () (Royal Military Academy)

  • F.P. de Vries

    (Department of Economics and CentER,Tilburg University, The Netherlands))


This paper presents a multitask principal-agent model to examine how environmental liability rules for individual managers within a corporate hierarchy affect, on the one hand, the incentive schemes the organization provides and, on the other hand, the choice between a functional or a product-based organizational structure. If managers are risk neutral, a product-based organization dominates a functional organization and allows to obtain first-best effort level. If, moreover, there are no diseconomies of span, both organizational forms are equivalent. It is also shown that for the dominant function, effort levels are higher in a product-based organization than in a functional one. With risk averse managers, no organizational structure dominates the other in general, but we are able to identify under which conditions it does not matter who is held liable for environmental damages.

Suggested Citation

  • Laurent Franckx & F.P. de Vries, 2004. "Environmental Liability and Organizational Structure," Energy, Transport and Environment Working Papers Series ete0401, KU Leuven, Department of Economics - Research Group Energy, Transport and Environment.
  • Handle: RePEc:ete:etewps:ete0401

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Arlen, Jennifer, 1994. "The Potentially Perverse Effects of Corporate Criminal Liability," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 832-867, June.
    2. 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.
    3. Fischel, Daniel R & Sykes, Alan O, 1996. "Corporate Crime," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(2), pages 319-349, June.
    4. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1991. "Symposium on Organizations and Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 15-24, Spring.
    5. Gabel H. Landis & Sinclair-Desgagne Bernard, 1993. "Managerial Incentives and Environmental Compliance," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 229-240, May.
    6. Segerson, Kathleen & Tietenberg, Tom, 1992. "The structure of penalties in environmental enforcement: An economic analysis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 179-200, September.
    7. Sinclair-Desgagne, Bernard, 1999. "How to Restore Higher-Powered Incentives in Multitask Agencies," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 418-433, July.
    8. Shavell, Steven, 1997. "The optimal level of corporate liability given the limited ability of corporations to penalize their employees," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 203-213, June.
    9. Cyrus Chu, C. Y. & Qian, Yingyi, 1995. "Vicarious liability under a negligence rule," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 305-322, September.
    10. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-328, March.
    11. Polinsky, A. Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1993. "Should employees be subject to fines and imprisonment given the existence of corporate liability?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 239-257, September.
    12. Besanko, David & R├ęgibeau, Pierre & Rockett, Katharine, 2000. "A Multi-Task Principal-Agent Approach to Organizational Form," CEPR Discussion Papers 2443, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    contracts; liability; firm structure; principal-agent;

    JEL classification:

    • K3 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ete:etewps:ete0401. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (library EBIB). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.