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Pollution Limits and Polluters’ Efforts to Comply: The Role of Government Monitoring and Enforcement

336 pages6 hours


This book integrates the fields of economics and law to empirically examine compliance with regulatory obligations under the Clean Water Act (CWA). It examines four dimensions of federal water pollution control policy in the United States: limits imposed on industrial facilities' pollution discharges; facilities' efforts to comply with pollution limits, identified as "environmental behavior"; facilities' success at controlling their discharges to comply with pollution limits, identified as "environmental performance"; and regulators' efforts to induce compliance via inspections and enforcement actions, identified as "government interventions."
The authors gather and analyze data on environmental performance and government interventions from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) databases, and data on environmental behavior gathered from their own survey of all 1,612 chemical manufacturing facilities permitted to discharge wastewater in 2002. By analyzing links between critical elements in the puzzle of enforcement of and compliance with environmental protection laws, the text speaks to several important, policy-relevant research questions: Do government interventions help induce better environmental behavior and/or better environmental performance? Do tighter pollution limits improve environmental behavior and/or performance? And, does better environmental behavior lead to better environmental performance?

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