Enforcement and over-compliance

Jay P. Shimshack*, Michael B. Ward

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    116 Citations (Scopus)


    Economists generally view environmental enforcement as a tool to secure compliance with regulations. This paper demonstrates that credible enforcement significantly increases statutory over-compliance with regulations as well. We find that many plants with discharges typically below legally permitted levels reduce discharges further when regulators issue fines, even on other plants. Also, non-compliant plants often respond to sanctions by reducing discharges well beyond reductions required by law. Thus, increased enforcement generates substantial discharge reductions above and beyond those expected from simply deterring violations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)90-105
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Environmental Economics and Management
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008

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