The Enforcement-Compliance Paradox: Lessons About Matching Regulatory Priorities to Compliance Motivations from Pesticide Regulation in China


Studying amoral cost benefit analysis, legitimacy and capacity to obey the law this paper seeks to understand why Chinese farmers obey or break pesticide rules.. It uses data gathered through intensive local level fieldwork including interviews with 31 pesticide experts and officials and 119 vegetable farmers in the central China. The paper uncovers an enforcement-compliance paradox: a situation where law enforcement is prioritized exactly on those rules least likely broken and the regulated actors most likely to comply. It finds two explanations. First, enforcement policy simply may not be aware which rules and regulated actors have more compliance even when there is limited deterrence. Second, technocratic risk-averse enforcement policy may be oriented at those rules and actors where violation (theoretically) results in the largest damages, not at those rules more likely broken and actors more likely to break them.

This document is currently not available here.