Environmental quality and welfare effects of improving the reporting capability of citizen monitoring schemes
Public participation in environmental monitoring to alert regulators to possible non-compliance events has been credited with improving environmental quality and regulatory efficiency. At the same time, the reporting capability of such citizen monitoring schemes is known to be limited due to technical and organizational deficiencies. Recent enthusiasm for outside interventions that address these deficiencies in order to lower environmental harm and raise overall welfare therefore seems justified. A game-theoretic analysis of a monitoring and enforcement regime with citizen monitoring shows, however, that the effects of such interventions are likely to be subtle. A higher reporting capability of citizens involves substitution effects that have ambiguous effects on the regulator’s monitoring and enforcement costs: Welfare can actually decline and environmental improvements will fall short of expectations. In an extreme scenario we show that improved citizen monitoring can even have adverse effects on environmental quality.
KeywordsEnvironmental regulation Citizen monitoring Sampling technology
JEL ClassificationD82 K42 Q53
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