Tracking Deterrent Messages in Environmental Enforcement

EPA Grant Number: R828827
Title: Tracking Deterrent Messages in Environmental Enforcement
Investigators: Kagan, Robert A. , Thornton, Dorothy , Gunningham, Neil
Institution: University of California - Berkeley
Current Institution: University of California - Berkeley , Australian National University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: June 6, 2001 through May 31, 2003
Project Amount: $349,981
RFA: Corporate Environmental Performance and the Effectiveness of Government Interventions (2000) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice


The objectives of this research project are to increase knowledge about the role of general deterrence in the implementation of U.S. environmental law. To that end, it will: (a) track the dissemination (in various communications media) of information about enforcement measures and legal penalties against violators; (b) survey similarly-situated enterprises about their knowledge of and response to those deterrent messages; and (c) evaluate the salience of general deterrence messages as compared to other factors, as stimuli for compliance efforts by regulated business.


The research approach involves: 1) identification and characterization of deterrent messages, based on legal sanctions announced by the EPA; 2) mapping dissemination of the deterrent messages, through content analysis of various media; 3) mapping reception of deterrent messages, via telephone survey; 4) assessing the behavioral impact of deterrent messages, by telephone survey and quantitative case studies; 5) assessing the salience of deterrent messages, via in-depth interviews; and 6) analysis of the relative effectiveness of general deterrence enforcement strategies.

Expected Results:

The expected results will provide insights into and provisional answers to a range of questions concerning: the relative importance of general deterrence, and the circumstances in which it is most likely to be achieved; the extent to which, and the circumstances in which, deterrence messages ?get through' to target populations; and how salient deterrent messages as compared to other factors. The research results will facilitate better regulatory design more broadly, and the more effective integration of deterrence and non-deterrence oriented regulatory strategies.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 10 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 2 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

public policy, surveys, communications, mass media., RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, Corporate Performance, Economics and Business, Social Science, community involvement, enforcement strategy, legal pnealties, incentives, survey, environmental compliance determinants, information dissemination, environmental law, regulations, corporate environmental behavior

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2001 Progress Report
  • Final Report