Tracking Deterrent Messages in Environmental Enforcement

EPA Grant Number: R828827
Title: Tracking Deterrent Messages in Environmental Enforcement
Investigators: Kagan, Robert A. , Gunningham, Neil , Thornton, Dorothy
Institution: University of California - Berkeley
Current Institution: University of California - Berkeley , Australian National University
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
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: Economics and Decision Sciences


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