According to a joint study by two public policy professors, governments are more likely to violate environmental standards than are private entities.

Professor David Konisky, Indiana University, and Professor Manuel Teodoro, Texas A&M, authored the study “When Governments Regulate Governments” in which they compare how environmental laws are enforced on governments versus business.

Konisky and Teodoro detail, “Compared with private firms, governments violate these laws significantly more frequently and are less likely to be penalized for violations.”

In the study they conclude that businesses are subject to much steeper, more onerous repercussions that are governments.

What’s more, when governments are forced to pay fines and other compliance costs, there exists a different paradigm in that monies spent on these costs are paid by taxpayers and therefore do not impact a profit/loss statement.

That situation creates less incentive for governments to comply with regulations. Further, the studies opines, “At the same time, agencies do not face direct competition from other firms, rarely face elimination, and may have sympathetic political allies.”

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