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Department of Economics, Stockholm University Research Papers in Economics, Department of Economics, Stockholm University

No 2012:11:
When do Firms Break the Law in Order to Reduce Marginal Cost? - An Application to the Problem of Environmental Inspection

Jonas Häckner () and Mathias Herzing ()

Abstract: This study attempts to identify firm characteristics that are important in determining whether or not a specific firm has strong incentives for non-compliance with environmental laws. In particular, we analyze how these incentives are related to the size of the cost reductions associated with non-compliance, business cycle conditions, the degree of product differentiation, market structure, and price versus quantity competition. When cost reductions are non-dramatic, in the sense that they do not lead to monopoly, the following rules of thumb are suggested. 1) Inspection should be intensified during booms, 2) firms that face high costs of compliance should be inspected more intensely and 3)firms that are insulated from competition by product differentiation or by lack of competitors should be inspected more intensely. Although our prime focus is environmental inspection, the theoretical findings readily extends to other similar applications such as VAT fraud and violations against import restrictions. They can also have some bearing on the monitoring of financial markets that are subject to regulation.

Keywords: Environmental Inspection; Market Structure; Product Differentiation; Bertrand; Cournot; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: K32; L13; Q58; (follow links to similar papers)

45 pages, September 20, 2012

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