Participation Rationales, Regulatory Enforcement, and Compliance Motivations in a Voluntary Program

2019, with Saba Siddiki, Regulation & Governance

Full title: “Participation Rationales, Regulatory Enforcement, and Compliance Motivations in a Voluntary Program Context”

Link to article

This article extends the study of regulatory compliance motivations from “traditional” regulatory settings to a government-sponsored voluntary one. We argue that the rationale(s) which motivate participants to engage a voluntary program likely shape which motivations drive them toward (or away from) program compliance. Our study examines the possible influence of program participation rationales alongside that of regulatory agents' enforcement styles and strategies. Leveraging a national survey of certified United States Department of Agriculture organic producers, we find that the more a producer pursues organic certification to increase profits, the more likely they are to report deterrent fears as an important compliance motivation. In contrast, the more a producer becomes certified to support the organic movement, the more heavily they weigh a personal sense of duty to comply. We discuss the implications of these, and other, study findings for compliance motivations theory and voluntary program integrity.