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Understanding street-level bureaucracy$
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Peter Hupe, Peter Hupe, Michael Hill, and Aurèlien Buffat

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447313267

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447313267.001.0001

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Street-level bureaucrats and regulatory deterrence

Street-level bureaucrats and regulatory deterrence

(p.133) Eight Street-level bureaucrats and regulatory deterrence
Understanding street-level bureaucracy

Søren C. Winter

Peter J. May

Policy Press

This chapter considers the role of street-level bureaucrats in regulatory deterrence. The empirical foci are the degrees and ways with which regulatory inspectors shape regulated entities’ perceptions that noncompliance will be detected. These are examined using data about the enforcement of and compliance with Danish agro-environmental regulations. The findings highlight the importance of awareness of rules in conditioning the effects of inspectors’ deterrent actions including frequency, duration and targeting of inspections as well as inspectors’ threats. Other findings show how, given the difficulty of assessing the detection risk, regulated entities use various heuristics regarding competence of inspectors, fairness of inspection, and trust in others that affect their perceptions of the likelihood of violations being detected. These results underscore the importance of fair and competent inspection for improving compliance. More generally, the chapter demonstrates the roles street-level bureaucrats fulfil on the frontlines of regulatory enforcement.

Keywords:   regulatory compliance, enforcement, deterrence, inspectors, target group response

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