Illegal land use is an important environmental issue that is attracting increasing attention. Taking the neo-institutional literature as a starting point, this article outlines an approach focusing on illegal land use by firms. The pervasive nature of illegal land use is examined in terms of isomorphism, intended as imitative behaviour, in response to two kinds of environmental pressures: institutional pressure exerted by complementary institutions at local level, and market pressures, particularly the degree of uncertainty affecting certain sectors. Using a database mainly consisting of judgments handed down by the Italian Court of Cassation, this study argues that low quality of the local regulation and enforcement has a significant impact on the incidence and degree of seriousness of illegal land use, though a connection with the low quality of local governance has yet to be proven. In addition, the study highlights the fact that in sectors characterized by a high degree of uncertainty, the spread of illegal land use consists of practices of a more serious nature. An understanding of the extent to which firms replicate illegal land use with a similar degree of seriousness may help in the design of effective land management policies. Due to the complexity of the behaviour of firms a policy mix is suggested, including transparent rules, and fully functioning checks and balances, particularly local enforcement mechanisms. However, it is argued that better outcomes are more likely to be achieved by preventive measures in the sense of more acceptable land-use regulation and industry-specific measures.

Illegal land use by Italian firms: An empirical analysis through the lens of isomorphism

Roberta Troisi
2022

Abstract

Illegal land use is an important environmental issue that is attracting increasing attention. Taking the neo-institutional literature as a starting point, this article outlines an approach focusing on illegal land use by firms. The pervasive nature of illegal land use is examined in terms of isomorphism, intended as imitative behaviour, in response to two kinds of environmental pressures: institutional pressure exerted by complementary institutions at local level, and market pressures, particularly the degree of uncertainty affecting certain sectors. Using a database mainly consisting of judgments handed down by the Italian Court of Cassation, this study argues that low quality of the local regulation and enforcement has a significant impact on the incidence and degree of seriousness of illegal land use, though a connection with the low quality of local governance has yet to be proven. In addition, the study highlights the fact that in sectors characterized by a high degree of uncertainty, the spread of illegal land use consists of practices of a more serious nature. An understanding of the extent to which firms replicate illegal land use with a similar degree of seriousness may help in the design of effective land management policies. Due to the complexity of the behaviour of firms a policy mix is suggested, including transparent rules, and fully functioning checks and balances, particularly local enforcement mechanisms. However, it is argued that better outcomes are more likely to be achieved by preventive measures in the sense of more acceptable land-use regulation and industry-specific measures.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4802171
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