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A spirited debate explores the comparative merits of two different approaches to the enforcement ofregulatory law: the coercive approach, which emphasizes the deterrence of noncompliance throughinflexibly imposed sanctions, and the cooperative approach, which emphasizes the inducement of com-pliance through flexibility and assistance. Both scholarly and policymaking communities are interestedin this topic of enforcement approach within the realms of finance, tax compliance, occupational safety,food and drug safety, consumer product safety, and environmental protection. To inform this debate,our study explores enforcement of environmental protection laws where the debate has been especiallyspirited yet lacking in much empirical evidence. Specifically our study empirically analyzes the effects ofthese two approaches on environmental management practices linked to compliance with wastewaterdischarge limits imposed on chemical manufacturing facilities. For this analysis, we view the enforcementapproach as representing a relationship between a regulator and a regulated entity that is measured inmultiple dimensions so that we are able to explore the extent of cooperation or coercion. The empiricalresults reveal that a more cooperative relationship induces better environmental management.

GW Paper Series

GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2015-7; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2015-7

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