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Journal Article / Climate

Illegal waste disposal: Enforcement actions and decentralized environmental policy

Author(s): D’ AMATO, Alessio, MAZZANTI Massimiliano, NICOLLI Francesco, ZOLI Mariangela

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ABSTRACT

Environmental non-compliance is affected by the decentralized shaping of environmental policy by local governments and enforcement actions by public bodies. Illegal waste disposal is examined in a relevant national case, by means of an original regionally disaggregated panel dataset for Italy, a country which witnesses heterogeneous environmental performances across regions and a decentralized policy system. Our empirical analysis produces two main insights of strong policy interest. First, commitment to a more stringent waste policy tends to increase illegal disposal of waste. Second, a nonlinear bell shaped relationship exists between the number of inspections and the quantity of illegal disposal. The key message is that deterrence might only result after a relatively high level of controls is implemented.