Hazardous Waste Compliance and the Influence of Federal Initiatives, State Programs, and Corporate Characteristics

EPA Grant Number: R831036
Title: Hazardous Waste Compliance and the Influence of Federal Initiatives, State Programs, and Corporate Characteristics
Investigators: Stafford, Sarah L.
Institution: College of William and Mary-VA
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: June 1, 2003 through May 1, 2006
Project Amount: $137,997
RFA: Corporate Environmental Behavior: Examining the Effectiveness of Government Interventions and Voluntary Initiatives (2002) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice


This project is an empirical examination of the factors that motivate compliance with hazardous waste regulations. The analysis will include over 8,000 hazardous waste generators and management facilities across the U.S. representing a wide array of industries. The study will address three major questions: (1) how audit policies affect hazardous waste compliance; (2) how state initiatives affect hazardous waste compliance; and (3) how corporate and facility characteristics affect hazardous waste compliance. The objective of these lines of inquiry is to provide a better understanding of the effect of various regulatory and non-regulatory factors on compliance so that policies can be better designed and implemented to promote compliance and increase environmental protection.


A fundamental step towards answering these questions is the collection and compilation of the necessary data. We will extract data on detected violations and state and federal inspections from EPA's RCRA Info database and combine them with data on waste generation and management from EPA's Biennial Reporting System. Next, we will compile data on the use of audit policies from documents in the Audit docket and collect information on state programs and resources from a number of sources including state regulations. We will match facilities with corporate parents and gather company financial data from several electronic databases. Finally, we will calculate data on demand and competition for waste management services using Geographic Information System software. Once we have amassed the necessary data, we will conduct a variety of cross-section and panel regressions. To account for the fact that compliance status is known only if a facility is inspected, we will use a censored bivariate probit as the basic framework for analysis.

Expected Results:

To date there has been little empirical research on hazardous waste compliance. This project will provide evidence as to which factors influence compliance with hazardous waste regulations. This knowledge will benefit hazardous waste management by leading to improvements in: (1) the allocation of enforcement resources to facilities most likely to violate the regulations; (2) evaluation of initiatives to determine which to adopt, continue, or eliminate; and (3) design and modification of initiatives to maximize compliance. Additionally, the results of this project will provide insight about compliance behavior that can be transferred to other media programs.

Supplemental Keywords:

monitoring, deterrence, large quantity generator, GIS., RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, Economics and Business, decision-making, Social Science, Economics & Decision Making, Environmental Law, policy analysis, impact of state policy instruments, policy making, impact of federal policy instruments, policy incentives, hazardous waste regulatory compliance, decision analysis, economic benefits, environmental decision making, legislative initiatives, decision making, measuring environmental performance, economic incentives, audit policies, environmental policy, regulatory reform, compliance costs, legal and policy choices, public policy, regulatory impact, enforcement impact

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • Final