Environmental Economics

Information and Regulatory Enforcement

  • Abstract
    This project will explore in depth how compliance data can be used to target facilities for extensive inspection based on past regulatory interactions, how enforcement data can be used to evaluate the implementation of delegated regulatory programs across States and regions, and how the combination of enforcement data with information on environmental outcomes such as emissions figures and occurrences of accidental releases can be used to evaluate the success of different regulatory approaches. The project will focus on data from the Resources Conservation and Recovery Information System (RCRIS), which tracts regulatory events at firms that generate, treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste. Linking RCRIS with other compliance databases allows one to explore questions such as how one can identify persistent violators across multimedia programs and to what degree noncompliance is driven by facility level variables versus company characteristics. Since many RCRA functions are delegated to States, the RCRIS data allow one to estimate equations relating to violations and detections of violations across States so that one can estimate where violations may be "missed" in the current enforcement program. Finally, RCRIS identifies both the sources of the regulatory authority and the degree of formality for enforcement actions at facilities dealing with hazardous waste. This enforcement data can be combined with environmental outcome data at the facility level relating to toxic emissions, production of hazardous waste, accidental spills and releases, and progress on corrective actions to clean up contamination. Joining data on regulatory actions and outcomes allows one to determine which combinations of formal versus informal administrative actions work at facilities regulated under RCRA. The project will involve substantial statistical tests that draw upon the agency's enforcement and outcomes databases.
  • Metadata
    Principal Investigators:
    Hamilton, James T.
    Technical Liaison:
    Research Organization:
    Duke University
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    Grant Year:
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