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 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? Environment Spillovers: Lessons from Strategic Interactions in Regulation and Product Markets Research We explore enforcement spillovers - when sanctions at one entity influence behavior at other entities. Our model illustrates when spillovers arise from a regulatory channel and when they arise from a channel not previously emphasized: product markets. Professor Jay Shimshack Appointed Batten School Associate Dean for Academic Affairs News The Batten School announced the appointment of Professor Jay Shimshack as associate dean for academic affairs. Shimshack succeeds Professor Craig Volden, who will conclude his distinguished four-year term as associate dean at the end of June and transition to the role of interim dean of the Batten School until Dean-elect Ian Solomon’s arrival on Sept. 1. If This Environmentally Conscious Batten Professor Could Fix Just One Thing... News Having skied and sailed in beautiful locales like Jackson, Wyoming; Newport, Rhode Island; and Puerto Rico, Jay Shimshack has loved nature ever since he can remember. So when he turned that love into a career, it felt, well, completely natural.