The Selective Enforcement of Government Regulation: Battleground States, State Regulators, and the EPA
54 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2016 Last revised: 16 Dec 2022
Date Written: December 22, 2022
The Electoral College creates incentives for politicians and regulators to direct policy favors toward "battleground" or "swing" states. We examine whether this affects regulatory enforcement and find that facilities in battleground states are less likely to be found in violation of the Clean Water Act, partially because the permit limits for facilities in these states are less restrictive. Identification is obtained by analyzing violation rates of similar facilities located along the border between battleground and non-battleground states. Reduced enforcement partly results from lax EPA oversight of state-level regulators, is widespread, and spans a sample period of over forty years.
Keywords: Regulation, regulatory enforcement, battleground states, swing states, public policy
JEL Classification: G18, L51, J18, K32, P48, I18
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