Is it Possible to Measure Compliance?
Posted: 9 Oct 2006 Last revised: 13 Aug 2014
Date Written: October 9, 2006
One of the main challenges in much empirical study of regulation is to measure the level of compliance with the law. Measuring an individual's or an organization's compliance with the law, however, is always difficult. The two main sets of uncertainty in interpreting and relying on measures of compliance are: Firstly, there is a problem with collecting accurate information about the level of violations of the law committed by a person or an organization. This is a problem because the relevant information has not, and/or cannot, be collected. Secondly, given that 'actual compliance' may be impossible to measure directly (because of the first set of problems), the problem is to establish what link, if any there is between 'actual compliance' and other measures that we hypothesize are related to actual compliance and that we might be able to use as proxies for actual compliance. This paper critically analyses the strengths and weaknesses of different ways of measuring compliance by reference to the different conceptualizations of compliance in the literature and two sets of data collected by the authors.
Keywords: regulation, compliance, enforcement, regulatory compliance, social science methodology
JEL Classification: N40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation