Crime in the Coal Industry: Implications for Green Criminology and Treadmill of Production

Michael Long, Paul Stretesky, Michael Lynch, Emily Fenwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


This research examines the connection between political donations, lobbying, levels of production, and state enforcement efforts in the coal industry. The authors draw on treadmill of production theory as developed by Schnaiberg to situate the analysis within green criminology. Specifically, based on treadmill of production theory the authors hypothesize that coal companies are more likely to increase political donations and lobbying efforts prior to the conclusion of any state enforcement effort (administrative, civil, or criminal violation). In addition, and consistent with treadmill of production theory, the authors hypothesize that the probability of environmental enforcement will be lower for coal companies that are more embedded in the treadmill of production and higher for companies less embedded in the treadmill. To test these hypotheses, a case-crossover design is used that allows for comparisons within companies by looking at treadmill-related characteristics at the time of the violation and at randomly chosen points in time before and after that violation. The authors discovered that while lobbying efforts and level of embeddedness in the treadmill were unrelated to state enforcement, political donations significantly increase for companies just prior to the conclusion of an enforcement event (odds ratio = 6.36). It is also discovered that corporate restructuring is related to environmental enforcement. The article concludes by offering insights into alternative analysis and uses of treadmill of production theory as it relates to green criminology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-346
JournalOrganization & Environment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012


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