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Escalation of Scrutiny: The Gains from Dynamic Enforcement of Environmental Regulations

Author

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  • Wesley Blundell
  • Gautam Gowrisankaran
  • Ashley Langer

Abstract

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency uses a dynamic approach to enforcing air pollution regulations, with repeat offenders subject to high fines and designation as high priority violators (HPV). We estimate the value of dynamic enforcement by developing and estimating a dynamic model of a plant and regulator, where plants decide when to invest in pollution abatement technologies. We use a fixed grid approach to estimate random coefficient specifications. Investment, fines, and HPV designation are costly to most plants. Eliminating dynamic enforcement would raise pollution damages by 164% with constant fines or raise fines by 519% with constant pollution damages.

Suggested Citation

  • Wesley Blundell & Gautam Gowrisankaran & Ashley Langer, 2018. "Escalation of Scrutiny: The Gains from Dynamic Enforcement of Environmental Regulations," NBER Working Papers 24810, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24810
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Heiss, Florian & Hetzenecker, Stephan & Osterhaus, Maximilian, 2019. "Nonparametric estimation of the random coefficients model: An elastic net approach," DICE Discussion Papers 326, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    2. Sébastien Houde & Erica Myers, 2019. "Heterogeneous (Mis-) Perceptions of Energy Costs: Implications for Measurement and Policy Design," NBER Working Papers 25722, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Liang, Yuanning, 2020. "Do Safety Inspections Improve Safety? Evidence from the Safety Inspection Program for Commercial Motor Vehicles," 2020 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, Kansas City, Missouri 304312, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Blundell, Wesley, 2020. "When threats become credible: A natural experiment of environmental enforcement from Florida," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 101(C).
    5. Heiss, Florian & Hetzenecker, Stephan & Osterhaus, Maximilian, 2019. "Nonparametric estimation of the random coefficients model: An elastic net approach," Ruhr Economic Papers 824, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C57 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Econometrics of Games and Auctions
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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