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 Environmental Policy Jay Shimshack Jay Shimshack is a professor of public policy and economics as well as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. Shimshack's research focuses on 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? Batten Faculty Recognized for Excellence in Teaching, Service, Research and Engagement News This academic year, Batten School professors won a slew of internal and external recognitions for excellence in teaching, service, research and engagement. Batten's Lipscomb Receives UVA's Prestigious Public Impact-Focused Research Award News Batten professor Molly Lipscomb was honored with the university's Public Impact-Focused Research Award for her work examining the impact of bringing public services to low-income households in countries where services are needed.