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Working Paper

Enforcement of Pollution Regulations in a Declining Industry

A regulatory agency enforcing compliance in a declining industry might recognize that certain plants would close rather than comply, and that these closings would impose large costs on the local community. EPA enforcement activity in the U.S. steel industry is examined for evidence of this result. A three-equation system linking EPA enforcement decisions, company plant-closing decisions, and company compliance decisions is estimated. The results indicate that the EPA directed fewer enforcement actions toward plants with a high predicted probability of closing and plants that were major employers in their community; also, plants predicted to face relatively heavy enforcement were more likely to close.

Working Papers of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland are preliminary materials circulated to stimulate discussion and critical comment on research in progress. They may not have been subject to the formal editorial review accorded official Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland publications. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not represent the views of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or the Federal Reserve System.

Suggested Citation

Deily, Mary, and Wayne B. Gray. 1989. “Enforcement of Pollution Regulations in a Declining Industry.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Working Paper No. 89-12.