Do Open Comment Processes Increase Regulatory Compliance? Evidence from a Public Goods Experiment

Stephen N. Morgan, Nicole M. Mason and Robert S. Shupp at EconPapers: “Agri-environmental programs often incorporate stakeholder participation elements in an effort to increase community ownership of policies designed to protect environmental resources (Hajer 1995; Fischer 2000). Participation – acting through increased levels of ownership – is then expected to increase individual rates of compliance with regulatory policies. Utilizing a novel lab experiment, this research leverages a public goods contribution game to test the effects of a specific type of stakeholder participation scheme on individual compliance outcomes. We find significant evidence that the implemented type of non-voting participation mechanism reduces the probability that an individual will engage in noncompliant behavior and reduces the level of noncompliance. At the same time, exposure to the open comment treatment also increases individual contributions to a public good. Additionally, we find evidence that exposure to participation schemes results in a faster decay in individual compliance over time suggesting that the impacts of this type of participation mechanism may be transitory….(More)”