Co-Regulation in Mexican Environmental Law

32 Utah Envtl. L. Rev. (2012 Forthcoming)

San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 12-088

29 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2012 Last revised: 19 Aug 2012

See all articles by Lesley K. McAllister

Lesley K. McAllister

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Date Written: June 11, 2012


In the early 1990s, the Mexican federal government established a co-regulatory approach to environmental enforcement: the National Environmental Audit Program. Participating companies were required to contract a private auditor to identify instances of non-compliance and then negotiate an agreement with the government for attaining compliance. Upon successful completion of the agreement, the company would receive an eco-label from the government. By 2010, about 9,000 Mexican facilities, accounting for more than 60% of Mexico’s industrial gross domestic product, had participated.

The Audit Program is a significant example of environmental co-regulation in a developing country. Co-regulation, a regulatory approach that combines elements of mandatory state-directed regulation and voluntary self-regulation, has been used more commonly in industrialized countries, particularly European countries. Based on empirical research, the article contributes to a line of literature suggesting that the reasons that environmental co-regulation emerges in developing countries differ from the reasons it emerges in industrialized countries. In particular, co-regulation in developing countries is driven to a greater extent by deficits in governmental regulatory capacity.

Keywords: co-regulation, environment, auditors, regulatory capacity, Mexico

JEL Classification: K23, K32

Suggested Citation

McAllister, Lesley K., Co-Regulation in Mexican Environmental Law (June 11, 2012). 32 Utah Envtl. L. Rev. (2012 Forthcoming); San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 12-088. Available at SSRN:

Lesley K. McAllister (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

400 Mrak Hall Dr
Davis, CA CA 95616-5201

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