Escalation of Scrutiny: The Gains from Dynamic Enforcement of Environmental Regulations
71 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2018 Last revised: 24 Sep 2021
Date Written: July 2018
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 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% with constant fines or raise fines by 519% with constant pollution damages.
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