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Escalation of Scrutiny: The Gains from Dynamic Enforcement of Environmental Regulations

Wesley Blundell, Gautam Gowrisankaran and Ashley Langer

American Economic Review, 2020, vol. 110, issue 8, 2558-85

Abstract: The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses a dynamic approach to enforcing air pollution regulations, with repeat offenders subject to high fines and designation as high priority violators (HPV). We estimate the value of dynamic enforcement by developing and estimating a dynamic model of a plant and regulator, where plants decide when to invest in pollution abatement technologies. We use a fixed grid approach to estimate random coefficient specifications. Investment, fines, and HPV designation are costly to most plants. Eliminating dynamic enforcement would raise pollution damages by 164 percent with constant fines or raise fines by 519 percent with constant pollution damages.

JEL-codes: Q52 Q53 Q58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (23)

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Working Paper: Escalation of Scrutiny: The Gains from Dynamic Enforcement of Environmental Regulations (2018) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1257/aer.20181012

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