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Compliance and Enforcement

Starting a discussion or a research report with a question is always a good thing. In this case, the question is: What exactly is compliance and enforcement (C&E)? One might think there is an easy answer.  But despite the myriad of organizations with C&E policies and staff dedicated to this type of work in a broad range of areas such as taxation, crime, workplace health and safety, and the environment, it was challenging to identify an accessible literature on the theory, evolution and practice of C&E.

C&E is a complex and nuanced topic that, broadly speaking, encompasses behaviour and behavioural motivation. The subject matter of C&E is fundamentally based on:

  • rules, which are simply codified norms of behaviour that we agree are “correct” in the context of our collective values and priorities;
  • governance structures and institutions that represent how we choose to implement the rules that moderate behaviour at all levels of social and economic activity, including the state, the firm and the individual; and,
  • monitoring and information collection which facilitates dialogue and the adjustment of existing rules to accommodate new information and realities.