Event Date and Time
The Research on Effective Government: Inspection and Compliance Workshop, co-sponsored by the Maryland Center for Economics and Policy at the University of Maryland and the Harvard Business School, will be a forum for in-depth discussion of how research can inform effective strategies for achieving regulatory compliance. Participants will include academic researchers and leaders from a variety of enforcement agencies. Sessions at the workshop will focus on improving the targeting of firms for inspections, the conduct of inspections once an inspector arrives on site, enforcement actions such as fining violators or imposing other sanctions, and other actions that can be taken to improve compliance. The program also will include panel discussions on future challenges in compliance, data resources available for studying compliance activities, new directions in academic research on compliance, and new agency initiatives.

University of Maryland Inspection and Compliance Research Archive.
The Maryland Center for Economics and Policy is now administering the University of Maryland Inspection and Compliance Research Archive (UMICRA). UMICRA.com hosts an interactive database of research on inspection and compliance, as well as a directory of inspection and compliance data sources. The MCEP is currently building the research archive and data source directory; emails sent to papers [at] umicra.com with suggested data sources and additions to the research archive are appreciated.

Agenda, with downloadable presentation slides

Continental breakfast
  • Prof. Ginger Jin, University of Maryland
Why academics need this workshop  
  • Prof. Mike Toffel, Harvard Business School
8:45 Why regulators need this workshop
  • Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator, US EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
Session 1: Effective targeting                                                             
  Session chair: Ginger Jin
Agencies may choose to inspect every firm the same way, or target likely violators with more intense and more frequent inspections. What do we know about each approach? What is the trade-off between the two approaches? Is it possible to combine the two, for example, inspect every firm but target different violations in each inspection?
Session 2: Effective enforcement                                                      
  Session chair: Mike Toffel
Enforcement measures such as fine, closure and legal actions are meant to punish and deter noncompliance behaviors revealed by inspections. What has academic research revealed—and what have regulatory agencies learned—about their effectiveness? When and how do these enforcement measures exhibit spillover effects to deter noncompliance among other regulated entities?
Coffee break
Session 3: Inspectors  
  Session chair: Ginger Jin
Inspection is a social process. Agencies determine the number of inspectors to send onsite, and the attributes of those inspectors. Inspectors engage with regulated entities during and after inspections. Do inspectors observe all noncompliance behavior? Do they seek to punish all infractions? What types of training have bolstered the effectiveness of inspectors? What has research revealed about when and how inspectors use discretion? Should inspectors assume a policing versus educating role?
Lunch with open roundtable discussions on the following topics:
  • Interaction between regulators and industry – hosted by Prof. Jay Shimshack, University of Virginia Batten School of Public Policy & Leadership
  • Transparency and disclosure – hosted by Prof. Phillip Leslie, UCLA Anderson School of Management
  • Public and private inspectors – hosted by Prof. Jodi Short, University of California Hastings School of Law
  • Cost-benefit analysis – hosted by Prof. Mark Cohen, Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management & Vanderbilt Law School
  • International issues - hosted by John (Jay) Pendergrass, Senior Attorney, Environmental Law Institute.
  • Use of technology / Remote monitoring – hosted by David Hindin, Senior Policy Director for Innovation, US EPA Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance
Session 4: Enhancing compliance by leveraging forces beyond inspections and enforcement actions
  Session chair: Mike Toffel
How can regulators enhance the compliance of regulated entities by harnessing other stakeholders including regulated entities’ customers and employees – and the regulated entities themselves?
Panel 1: Future compliance challenges  
  Session chair: Ginger Jin
This panel will provide an opportunity for several regulatory agencies to describe new and ongoing compliance challenges they expect to face in the coming decade.
3:30 Coffee break
Panel 2: Data developments 
  Session chair: Mike Toffel
This panel discusses current and emerging datasets.
Panel 3: Looking ahead  
  Session chair: Ginger Jin
This session will foster an open discussion about how to continue today’s conversation, and will begin by highlighting some ongoing related efforts.
Sample government initiatives
Open discussion among participants about how continue today’s conversations – Katharine Abraham, University of Maryland
Closing remarks: Ginger Jin (University of Maryland) and Mike Toffel (Harvard Business School)
5:50 Conference close