Governing the Environment

Governing the Environment

Salient Institutional Issues

New Horizons in Environmental Economics series

Edited by Albert Breton, Giorgio Brosio, Silvana Dalmazzone and Giovanna Garrone

Environmental policy, focusing on the control of pollution and on over-exploitation, easily overlooks the extensive range of interconnections between economic activities and natural systems. In this timely book, a number of specialists examine how crucial aspects of complex environmental problems and policy can be dealt with in decentralized governmental systems.

Chapter 7: Compliance in Decentralized Environmental Governance

Albert Breton and Pierre Salmon

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, environmental economics


1 Albert Breton and Pierre Salmon 1 INTRODUCTION In most governmental systems, the responsibility for enacting environmental rules and that for ensuring compliance with these rules are assigned to governments at different jurisdictional tiers. The United States and the European Union are perhaps the most obvious cases of this absence of coincidence, which can, however, be observed also in the environmental governance systems of countries as different as Canada, France and Switzerland. The economic literature on (regulatory) federalism and decentralization pays no attention to this phenomenon. One reason is that the literature implicitly assumes compliance with enactments to be straightforward, automatic and in no need of attention. Hence, it does not seem worth making the distinction between enactment and compliance powers. Powers to enact can be constitutional, jurisprudential or de facto. They consist in the authority to translate into statutes, laws, regulations, rules, bylaws, executive orders, codes, standards and protocols (depending on the context), the solutions to environmental concerns that were deemed in the preenactment period to be problems. This chapter pays no attention to enactment powers per se, except as they may pertain to compliance powers. The latter comprise powers to monitor compliance and powers directed at inducing or compelling compliance. Our objective is to identify forces at work in decentralized governmental systems that help shape the assignment of two sets of powers that are related but distinct: (1) powers to monitor the compliance of individuals and organizations with environmental enactments; and (2) powers to induce or compel an...

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