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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1440926
 
 

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Coming Clean and Cleaning Up: Does Voluntary Self-Reporting Indicate Effective Self-Policing?


Michael W. Toffel


Harvard Business School (HBS) - Technology & Operations Management Unit

Jodi L. Short


University of California Hastings College of the Law

October 22, 2010

Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Research Paper No. 08-098
CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper
Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 11-15

Abstract:     
Administrative agencies are increasingly establishing voluntary self-reporting programs both as an investigative tool and to encourage regulated firms to commit to policing themselves. We investigate whether self-reporting can reliably indicate effective self-policing efforts that might provide opportunities for enforcement efficiencies. We find that regulators used self-reports of legal violations as a heuristic for identifying firms that are effectively policing their own operations, shifting enforcement resources away from voluntary disclosers. We also find that firms that voluntarily disclosed regulatory violations and committed to self-policing improved their regulatory compliance and environmental performance, suggesting that the enforcement relief they received was warranted. Collectively, our results suggest that self-reporting can be a useful tool for reliably identifying and leveraging the voluntary self-policing efforts of regulated companies.

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Date posted: July 29, 2009 ; Last revised: January 22, 2011

Suggested Citation

Toffel, Michael W. and Short, Jodi L., Coming Clean and Cleaning Up: Does Voluntary Self-Reporting Indicate Effective Self-Policing? (October 22, 2010). Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Research Paper No. 08-098; CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper; Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 11-15. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1440926

Contact Information

Michael W. Toffel
Harvard Business School (HBS) - Technology & Operations Management Unit ( email )
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617.384.8043 (Phone)
J. L. Short (Contact Author)
University of California Hastings College of the Law ( email )
200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

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