Environmental Enforcement and Compliance: Lessons from Pollution, Safety, and Tax Settings Apr 27, 2019 By Jay ShimshackJames Alm Environmental Enforcement and Compliance: Lessons from Pollution, Safety, and Tax Settings Environmental Enforcement and Compliance: Lessons from Pollution, Safety, and Tax Settings Environmental monitoring and enforcement are controversial and incompletely understood. This survey reviews what we do and do not know about the overall effectiveness, as well as the cost effectiveness, of pollution monitoring and enforcement. We ask five key questions: what do environmental monitoring and enforcement actions look like in the real world? How do we assess environmental compliance and deterrence? Do environmental monitoring and enforcement actions get results? How, why, and when do inspections and sanctions achieve compliance and reduce pollution? And, what do the answers to the preceding questions tell us about designing and implementing more effective and more cost effective public policies for the environment? A key contribution is drawing lessons from diverse sources, including insights from theoretical, empirical, and experimental contributions in environmental, tax, and safety settings. We conclude that traditional environmental monitoring and enforcement actions generate important deterrence effects. However, there are limits to such deterrence, and deterrence itself cannot fully explain all patterns of environmental behavior. Encouraging compliance requires both traditional tools and additional tools. Foundations and Trends® in Microeconomics 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 James Alm Related Content Jay Shimshack Costly Sanctions and the Treatment of Frequent Violators in Regulatory Settings Research Regulators typically treat frequent violators more harshly. When does such harsh treatment maximize overall compliance? 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? 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.