It is commonplace for regulators to apply a cost-benefit assessment of the likelihood of (non)compliance when they are introducing new regulations. However, empirical studies have shown that generally people are much more likely to comply than a calculation of their benefits and costs might imply. Early behavioural studies into peoples’ (non)compliance initially took a dualistic approach assuming that people would either fully agree or disagree with implementing regulations. This has been shown to be too simplistic to address the complexities involved in understanding peoples’ actual behaviour when they are responding to new regulations.
In this paper a Social-Cognitive Model (SCM) is proposed for providing an understanding of peoples’ compliance behaviour and predicting their likely responses to regulatory interventions affecting their lives. The SCM’s strength is that it integrates three existing theories describing peoples’ policy motivation, social contract alignment, and personal dissonance. In the model, compliance behaviours are encouraged when the regulations appeal to intrinsic motivations, when people have a trusted relationship with the regulator, and when people want to support the intent of the regulation. In contrast, noncompliance behaviours are more likely when the regulation appeals to extrinsic motivations, when in peoples’ experience the regulator appears to be unfair, and when the regulation is perceived to be a threat to the majority of peoples’ existing behaviours. The type and level of enforcement then can be matched to the factors that can encourage compliance and reduce noncompliance.
Parminter, Terry. Paper presented at the 2020 conference of the NZ Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.