Sticks, Carrots, and Environmental Crime

Anna Rita Germani (Sapienza University of Rome)
Angelo Castaldo (Sapienza University of Rome)
Alan P. Ker (University of Guelph)


This paper investigates the effect of legal deterrence (sticks) and economic conditions (carrots) on environmental crime in Italy. We have a unique dataset of environmental crime by type (wastewater, waste, construction, landscape, and forest fires) across regions for the decade 2006-2016. Considering that, albeit scant, a first recent literature on environmental crimes in Italy has already begun to study the relationship between economic growth, socio-economic variables, and environmental crime, our analysis is committed to explore the extent to which enforcement and deterrence variables can have an impact on the phenomenon under observation. Consistent with the law and economics literature, our empirical findings show evidence that both economic conditions and enforcement efforts are effective tools for the fight against environmental crime and thus support policy makers to better target environmental crime- control policies in Italy. Interestingly, we also find that environmental enforcement takes heterogenous paths in the different Italian regions.

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