Most environmental policymakers believe that compliance with environmental rules is high and assume that enforcement can take care of the violators. Both beliefs are wrong. An examination of the evidence shows that serious violations of environmental regulations are widespread and have real consequences for people’s health.
Rule design is by far the most important driver of compliance results; enforcement, by itself, will never close the huge compliance gap created by poorly constructed regulations. Rules that make compliance the path of least resistance will have good outcomes. Rules that create opportunities to evade, obfuscate, or ignore will have dismal performance records that no amount of enforcement will ever fix.
“Next Generation Compliance: Environmental Regulation for the Modern Era” reveals the widespread noncompliance with environmental rules and the paradigm shift necessary to turn that around. The series launches with an Introduction, which explains what Next Generation Compliance is, and Part 1, which shows that rule design is the most important factor in compliance outcomes. Part 2 – Noncompliance with Environmental Rules is Worse Than You Think – provides a comprehensive review of the dismal state of compliance with environmental rules in the US.