Pollution Limits and Polluters' Efforts to Comply: The Role of Government Monitoring and Enforcement

By Dietrich H. Earnhart; Robert L. Glicksman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER EIGHT
Effect of Government Interventions
on Environmental Behavior

This chapter explores the effect of government interventions on environmental behavior. As the key purpose of this exploration, we seek the answer to the following research question: do government interventions help to induce better behavior? To answer this policy-relevant research question, we attempt to link the use of government interventions to facilities’ behavioral decisions. To establish this link, we must first describe deterrence and then distinguish between specific deterrence and general deterrence. With this description and distinction in hand, we employ two empirical approaches to generate evidence that helps to answer our research question.


8.1. DETERRENCE: SPECIFIC DETERRENCE
AND GENERAL DETERRENCE

To establish the link from government interventions to environmental behavioral decisions, we first describe deterrence and then distinguish between specific deterrence and general deterrence.

Deterrence stems from inspections and enforcement. First, the frequency and intensity of surveillance through agency inspections would appear to influence the perceptions of regulated entities as to the probability of detection and punishment. Accordingly, an increase in the frequency of inspections should cause inspection targets to raise their estimates of the risks of detection and punishment and to react by taking steps to reduce the incidence of noncompliance with applicable environmental regulations and permit provisions. In addition to increasing the likelihood of an eventual sanction, inspections may impose costs on the

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