(E3 ) Working Papers Series
E3 Working Paper WP-020 Abstract
WP-020: Robert Innes and Arnab Mitra, "Parties, Politics and Regulation: How Congressmen Affect Local EPA Enforcement of Clean Air Laws " (September 2011) Full Paper
This paper studies the extent to which local Federal regulation responds to the preferences of local Congressional representatives. We use facility-level panel data over 1989-2005 to investigate how an indicator for a local U.S. Congressional Representative's preferences - their party affiliation - affects the intensity of EPA enforcement of Clean Air laws in their local Congressional districts. Consistent with a Niskanen (1971) type model of a legislative-regulator bargaining - but in contrast to a popular view that regulation is driven by lobbying/regulatory capture - we find that the individual Congressperson has a significant impact on rates of Clean Air Act inspection against local polluting facilities. Republican Representatives are estimated to significantly depress inspection rates.