IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Monitoring environmental standards : do local conditions matter?

  • Dion, Catherine
  • Lanoie, Paul
  • Laplante, Benoit
Registered author(s):

    Economists have criticized regulations that impose uniform environmental standards on plants that may face different marginal abatement costs and damage functions. Such critics ignore the difference in standard implementation across plants, giving rise to nonuniform standards. The authors analyze what determines the regulators'monitoring activities and what factors explain their decision to inspect a plant's environmental performance. They find that regulators are sensitive to local environmental damages and allocate inspection efforts to plants whose emissions are likely to generate more damage. Although national standards are uniform, implementation is a function of local conditions. Local monitoring and enforcement of national standards effectively determines the local price of pollution. Ignoring the tradeoffs taking place locally could undermine and render ineffective national regulatory and policy reform. This supports the public interest theory of regulation, which views the regulator as an agent whose objective is to maximize social welfare. The authors also show that the regulator's behavior is a function of variables not directly related to abatement cost and damages. In particular, conditions in the local labor market affect the regulator's monitoring strategy choice. This lends support to the economic theory of regulation, which views regulators as agents whose behavior can best be explained by assuming that they seek to maximize their political support.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1701.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 31 Jan 1997
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1701
    Contact details of provider: Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433
    Phone: (202) 477-1234
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Mary E. Deily & Wayne B. Gray, 1989. "Enforcement of pollution regulations in a declining industry," Working Paper 8912, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    2. William J. Furlong, 1991. "The Deterrent Effect of Regulatory Enforcement in the Fishery," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 67(1), pages 116-129.
    3. Hamilton James T., 1995. "Pollution as News: Media and Stock Market Reactions to the Toxics Release Inventory Data," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 98-113, January.
    4. Beavis, Brian & Dobbs, Ian, 1987. "Firm behaviour under regulatory control of stochastic environmental wastes by probabilistic constraints," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 112-127, June.
    5. Magat, Wesley A & Viscusi, W Kip, 1990. "Effectiveness of the EPA's Regulatory Enforcement: The Case of Industrial Effluent Standards," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 331-60, October.
    6. Richard A. Posner, 1974. "Theories of Economic Regulation," NBER Working Papers 0041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Linder, Stephen H. & McBride, Mark E., 1984. "Enforcement costs and regulatory reform: The agency and firm response," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 327-346, December.
    8. George J. Stigler, 1974. "The Optimum Enforcement of Laws," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 55-67 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Kaserman, David L & Mayo, John W & Pacey, Patricia L, 1993. "The Political Economy of Deregulation: The Case of Intrastate Long Distance," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 49-63, March.
    10. 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.
    11. Laplante, Benoit & Rilstone, Paul, 1996. "Environmental Inspections and Emissions of the Pulp and Paper Industry in Quebec," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 19-36, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1701. 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: (Roula I. Yazigi)

    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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.