Working Paper

Enforcing Environmental Regulation: Implications of Remote Sensing Technology

May 1, 1998 | Molly K. Macauley, Timothy J. Brennan


We review economic models of environmental protection and regulatory enforcement to highlight several attributes that are particularly likely to benefit from new enforcement technologies such as remote sensing using satellites in space. These attributes include the quantity and quality of information supplied by the new technologies; the accessibility of the information to regulators, regulatees, and third parties; the cost of the information; and whether the process of information collection can be concealed from the observer. Satellite remote sensing is likely to influence all of these attributes and in general, improve the efficacy of enforcement.