Thomas Blondiau, Carole M. Billiet & Sandra Rousseau. Comparison of criminal and administrative penalties for environmental offences, European Journal of Law and Economics 2015, vol. 39(1), 11-35
The authors conduct a counterfactual analysis to measure the treatment difference between administrative and criminal enforcement of environmental offences. The aim is to control for the selection bias effect and make a comparison of how similar offences are treated in both enforcement tracks. This analysis is relevant to answer the question of how deterrence and welfare in a combined criminal-administrative enforcement system compare with a enforcement system relying on criminal penalization only. This is an important question given the observed shift towards two-track penalization systems, combining administrative and criminal penalization, for environmental enforcement in the European Union. The authors apply matching techniques on a unique dataset of environmental enforcement cases to control for sample selection bias. They match different enforcement cases, based on case characteristics and estimate the average treatment effect for these cases. Overall, they find that the marginal penalty is slightly lower in administrative enforcement compared to criminal enforcement.
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