EPA, together with our state and tribal partners, assures compliance with the nation’s environmental laws and encourages firms and individuals to strive to exceed regulatory requirements. Government’s interest in the outcomes of compliance efforts is shared by industry, environmental groups, academia, non-governmental organizations, and the public. Success in these efforts is facilitated by the dissemination and consideration of behavioral and compliance research results.
This page provides reports on, and studies of, compliance, deterrence, recidivism, and related topics.
- Compliance Literature Search Results
- Compliance Assistance Outcome Measurement
- Understanding and Measuring Specific and General Deterrence
- Compliance and Recidivism Rate Measures
- Compliance Indexing Project
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Literature search results summarizing hundreds of compliance-related books and articles addressing:
- Compliance assurance
- Compliance monitoring
- Environmental management
- Program measurement and evaluation
- Voluntary programs
- Environmental performance
- Relationship of compliance and performance to business value and competitiveness
Compliance Literature Search Results - Citations to Over Two Hundred Compliance-Related Articles From 1999-2007 (PDF) (EPA-300B07001) (96 pp, 1,009.10K)
- Description: Provides citations to 215 compliance-related books and articles published between 1999 and 2007.
- Author: Published April 2007 by EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
Compliance Information Project Literature Summaries (PDF) (EPA-300-R-99-002) (86 pp, 1.07M)
- Description: Provides citations to compliance-related books and articles published before and up to 1999.
- Author: Published April 1999 by EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
- Activities, tools or technical assistance that helps the regulated community understand and meet its obligations under environmental laws and regulations
- Enhancing the capacity of compliance assistance providers to deliver assistance.
- Description: The report reviews research on the state of science in compliance assistance outcome measurement and develops findings and recommendations based on technical feasibility, without assessing implementation costs.
- Author: Prepared December 2007 by Dr. Shelley Metzenbaum, Director, Environmental Compliance Consortium, under contract to EPA (EP07H002309).
Guide for Measuring Compliance Assistance Outcomes (PDF) EPA 300-B-07-002 (170 pp, 922K)
- Description: The guide reviews the types and purposes of compliance assistance activities, provides a step-by-step overview of how to plan and design an assessment, including, an introduction to sampling approaches for statistically valid evaluations.
- Author: Revised October 2007 by EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
Deterrence influences regulated entities to respond to government monitoring and enforcement due to a fear of negative consequences. Deterrence also reminds entities of their regulatory obligations and reassures them of a level playing field.
- Specific deterrence: identifying violators and returning them to compliance.
- General deterrence: influencing similarly-situated entities also to achieve and maintain compliance.
- Market, social, and public pressures can also drive deterrence.
- Description: The report reviews research on the state of science in environmental deterrence measurement and develops findings and recommendations based on technical feasibility, without assessing implementation costs.
- Author: Prepared October 2007 by Prof. Jay P. Shimshack of Tufts University under contract to EPA (EP07H001637).
Additional topics for understanding specific and general deterrence:
- Description: The report presents simplified frameworks (models) for quantitative database analysis of the specific and general deterrent impacts of environmental monitoring and enforcement.
- Author: Prepared July 2008 by Prof. Jay P. Shimshack of Tufts University under contract to EPA (EP08H001163) with consultation from Prof. Wayne Gray of Clark University.
- Description: The report applies the models in the Metrics and Model Calibration report to several industrial sectors to generate preliminary model results supporting further model calibration.
- Author: Prepared October 2008 by Prof. Jay P. Shimshack of Tufts University under contract to EPA (EP08H001163) with consultation from Prof. Wayne Gray of Clark University.
- Description: The report is a technical guide to measuring the specific and general deterrent impacts of environmental monitoring and enforcement using the models and statistical methods described in the Metrics and Model Calibration report. It describes the steps necessary to run the models, from data extraction, preparation and sequencing to the subsequent quantitative statistical analysis.
- Author: Prepared January 2009 by Prof. Wayne Gray of Clark University and Prof. Jay P. Shimshack of Tulane University under contract to EPA (EP08H001163).
- Description: The report quantitatively characterizes noncompliance and assesses the deterrence impacts of enforcement for major industrial organic and inorganic chemical facilities’ water pollution performance to facilitate cross-measure comparisons of the relative accuracy and utility of four metrics:
The metrics are then used to characterize environmental performance and noncompliance in three contexts:
- statistically valid noncompliance rates
- noncompliance indexes
- regulated discharge measures
- noncompliance duration measures.
- at a single point in time
- over an 8-year time horizon
- for determining the deterrent effects of enforcement activities
- Author: Prepared June 2009 by Prof. Jay P. Shimshack of Tufts University under contract to EPA (EP08H002471)
Approaches for developing compliance and recidivism rate measures:
- Compliance occurs when a regulated entity conforms with applicable requirements under environmental laws and regulations.
- Recidivism occurs when a violator who has returned to compliance relapses again into noncompliance.
- Description: The report analyzes issues associated with generating statistically valid compliance rates and other enforcement and compliance assurance outcome measures.
- Author: Prepared by EPA in July 2006 to respond to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) instruction in the EPA FY07 budget passback to “review existing State performance metrics and pick the best to be incorporated into a lessons learned report that can serve as the basis for improved EPA metrics.”
- Description: The report explores theoretical and practical issues associated with developing and using civil enforcement program recidivism rate measures.
- Author: Prepared by EPA in June 2008 to respond to the OMB recommendation, in the 2004 Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) review of EPA’s civil enforcement program, that EPA reevaluate the use of recidivism rates as a performance measure.
Guidance on how to construct and use compliance indexes:
- A compliance rate is a binary measure in which facilities are “in” or “out” of compliance depending on whether they are meeting all of their relevant regulatory requirements.
- A compliance index is a scoring system representing the extent to which facilities are complying with an identified subset of compliance obligations.
Compliance Indexing Project (PDF) (77 pp, 596K)
- Description: The report examines the state of the science and use of compliance indexing approaches by federal, state, and local governments, associations, and international environmental agencies and organizations and provides a step-by-step tutorial on compliance index construction and use.
- Author: Prepared March 2010 by Industrial Economics, Inc. under contract to EPA (EP-W-10-002; WA 0-3).
Promoting good environmental behavior and compliance is at the heart of EPA’s mission, and is a key element of the 2006-2011 EPA Strategic Plan in Goal 5: Compliance and Environmental Stewardship (PDF) (184 pp, 9.8M).