Normative, Social, and Calculated Motivations for Compliance: Marine Facilities and Water Pollution

EPA Grant Number: R828825
Title: Normative, Social, and Calculated Motivations for Compliance: Marine Facilities and Water Pollution
Investigators: May, Peter J.
Institution: University of Washington
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: June 16, 2001 through June 15, 2004
Project Amount: $227,303
RFA: Corporate Environmental Performance and the Effectiveness of Government Interventions (2000) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice


This research addresses differing motivations to comply with environmental regulations. The central policy issues are how compliance and adoption of best practices can be improved. The research objectives are to: (1) test key hypotheses about the role of different motivations in shaping compliance with environmental regulations and adoption of best practices; (2) test key hypotheses about the influence of different regulatory enforcement approaches and assistance on compliance motivations; and (3) draw implications for improving compliance with environmental regulations and adoption of best practices.


Hypotheses will be examined for the compliance of coastal marine facilities in California and Washington states with regulations and best practice guidelines concerning both point and nonpoint sources of water pollution. Key contrasts will be drawn between behaviors of operators of boatyards (point sources of pollution subject to NPDES regulations) and operators of marinas (both point and nonpoint sources of pollution typically subject to voluntary measures), among the enforcement and compliance assistance actions of California and Washington states, and among differing contexts for pollution control and abatement.

Data will be collected from separate mail-out surveys to boatyard and marina operators in coastal areas of California and Washington, in-person data collection at selected facilities, and interviews and document collection from enforcement personnel at the state level and within regional enforcement offices in California and Washington. Analyses will include aggregate comparisons of compliance behaviors associated with different types of facilities, ownership and size, and different enforcement and compliance assistance approaches. Research hypotheses addressing variation in compliance behaviors and variation in compliance motivations will be tested using multivariate statistical modeling.

Expected Results:

The research will contribute to understanding of the motivations of firms to comply with environmental regulations and to adopt best practices for averting environmental harms. A unique aspect of the research is the examination of normative and social bases of compliance that relate to the use of informational and incentive-related approaches to environmental regulation. The research will contribute federal, state, and local-level development and management of water quality programs.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 18 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 5 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

public policy, social science, water, pollution prevention., RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Sustainable Industry/Business, State, Corporate Performance, Economics and Business, Ecological Risk Assessment, Social Science, environmental performance, incentives, environmental compliance determinants, survey, Washington (WA), water pollution, California (CA), regulations, statistical model , corporate environmental behavior, motivators

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2001 Progress Report
  • 2002 Progress Report
  • Final Report