Costly Sanctions and the Treatment of Frequent Violators in Regulatory Settings January 2018 By Jay ShimshackMichael B. Ward Costly Sanctions and the Treatment of Frequent Violators in Regulatory Settings Regulators typically treat frequent violators more harshly. When does such harsh treatment maximize overall compliance? We consider the role of two factors: responsiveness to penalties and costs of sanctions. A novel insight is that maintaining a credible threat of sanction against infrequent violators is relatively cheap because that threat seldom needs to be backed up. In a Clean Water Act application, the marginal sanction deters ten times as many violations when directed at infrequent violators. On net, this is due to a sanction cost effect, not because infrequent violators are marginally more responsive to the threat of punishment. shimshack_ward_frequent_violators_JAN2018.pdf Areas of focus Environment Jay Shimshack Jay Shimshack is Associate Professor of Public Policy and Economics, and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School. He received a Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley and a B.S. from Cornell University. Prior to joining UVa, Shimshack held positions at Tulane University and Tufts University and a visiting faculty fellowship at the University of Michigan. His major fields are environmental regulation, environmental economics, corporate social behavior, and applied microeconomics for public policy. Read full bio Michael B. Ward Monash University Related Content Jay Shimshack Disparities in PM2.5 air pollution in the United States Research Particulate air pollution in the contiguous United States has decreased considerably over recent decades, but where exactly has that progress been made? Batten's Jay Shimshack and his co-authors dive in. Disaster Preparedness and Disaster Response: Evidence from Sales of Emergency Supplies Before and After Hurricanes Research Government information warns households to acquire emergency supplies as hurricanes threaten and directs households to stay off roads after hurricanes make landfall. Do households follow this advice? Faculty Spotlight: From College Drop-Out to Action-Minded, Award-Winning Professor News Batten's Paul Martin teaches a course aimed at improving experiences for first-generation students at UVA, while also participating in a wide range of activities for the betterment of the Charlottesville community. Nationally, Air Pollution Has Fallen in Recent Decades. But Disparities Between Communities Persist. News Air pollution can have serious consequences for a person’s quality of life. Inhaling high concentrations of “fine particulate matter,” or particles approximately 40 times smaller than a grain of sand, has been linked to cancer, heart disease, and even death Jonathan Colmer told an online audience last week.