09/10/2020 - Guest Author Series

Next Generation Compliance: Environmental Regulation for the Modern Era

by Cynthia Giles

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: Rules with Compliance Built In, 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. Part 3 – The Ideologues: Performance Standards and Market Strategies challenges the prevailing view that performance-based and market approaches are the most effective environmental regulations. Part 4 – Next Generation Compliance and Climate Change: Preventing Widespread Violations that Threaten Climate Goals applies the lessons of Next Gen to the most pressing issue of our time.

Next Generation Compliance: Environmental Regulation for the Modern Era will be published as a book by Oxford University Press. Additional excerpts from the book posted here by EELP will not be in the order outlined in the Introduction.

You can also read Cynthia’s recent blog, Considerations For Congress in Designing A Clean Electricity Standard.

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