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Indiana University

Joice Y. Chang


Public Policy

Exam and Minor Fields:

Major: Environmental Policy; Public Policy; Political Theory and Methodology

Dissertation Title:

Impacts of Environmental Voluntary Agreement Participation on Noncompliance and Enforcement: An Analysis with Judicial Considerations

Dissertation Committee:

  • Dr. Kenneth Richards (SPEA), Chair
  • Dr. Roger Parks (SPEA)
  • Dr. Armando Razo (Political Science)
  • Dr. Michael Ensley (Political Science)
  • Professor John Applegate (Law)

Current Dissertation Progress and Expected Defense Date:

Progress: Working on the dissertation
Expected Defense Date: Spring 2010

Dissertation Abstract:

Research on environmental voluntary agreements (VAs) have mainly focused on facilities’ motivation for participating and whether VAs improve environmental quality. The relevance—and potentially, significance—of the judiciary is often left out of the analysis. While some studies state the importance of paying attention to the legal structure, none has explicitly analyzed VAs in the adjudicatory setting. This dissertation, therefore, addresses the issues of how VA participation impacts facility and regulatory behaviors in the context of an adjudicatory system. Specifically, it seeks to understand how participation in a specific VA participation—the National Environmental Performance Track program—affects regulatory noncompliance and penalty assessment in both administrative and judicial cases. Drawing from and extending both the existing social science and legal scholarships on compliance and enforcement behaviors, I offer a conceptual framework with the goal of providing fresh insights to the relevancy of adjudicatory considerations in this context. Various predicted outcomes (e.g. on noncompliance, inspection, enforcement mechanisms, and penalty assessment) are generated from this framework. Using an original longitudinal dataset, I empirically test a set of hypotheses on the effects of VA participation on facility noncompliance and government inspection/enforcement behaviors, framed explicitly with legal considerations. Preliminarily, I expect VA participation to lead to lower rates of noncompliance. In addition, I expect participating facilities, ceteris paribus, to face fewer inspections and receive lower penalties, particularly if the penalties are assessed administratively (rather than civilly) and/or resolved in settlement (rather than through litigation).