Sara Rinfret

University of Montana

Although numerous studies explore the regulatory enforcement styles of regulators and the regulated community's compliance motivations, existing research does not provide adequate insight into regulatory interactions themselves. We use data from a nationwide survey of more than 1200 state environmental regulators to empirically assess the role of trust in regulatory interactions. We find statistical support of trust in these regulatory interactions and find that trust appears to be a function of cooperative behavior, information sharing, respect, perceptions of motivations, and proactive assistance seeking. These findings could support the increasing calls for a fundamental restructuring of environmental regulation in favor of a next-generation approach to environmental policy that calls for more collaborative working relationships between regulators and their regulatory counterparts.