Reconsidering Styles of Regulatory Enforcement: Patterns in Danish Agro-Environmental Inspection

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Abstract

This study addresses enforcement styles of regulatory inspectors, based on an examination of the municipal enforcement of agro-environmental policies in Denmark. Our findings make three contributions to the regulatory literature. One contribution is to add empirical support for theorizing about inspectors’ enforcement styles as consisting of multiple components, rather than a single continuum. We show that inspectors’ enforcement styles comprise the degree of formalism and the degree of coercion that they exercise when carrying out inspections. A second contribution is in showing the relationship of different types of enforcement styles to the two underlying dimensions of the concept. A third contribution is an examination of the ways in which inspectors’ enforcement styles relate to their enforcement actions. The consistency of our findings with those of other studies suggests that the dimensions and types of inspectors’ enforcement styles that we observed in Denmark can be generalized to other settings.

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