The Determinants of Federal and State Enforcement of Workplace Safety Regulations: OSHA Inspections 1990-2010
Michael D. Makowsky
Johns Hopkins University - Department of Emergency Medicine, Center for Advanced Modeling in the Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences
Towson University - Department of Economics
April 25, 2013
We explore the determinants of inspection outcomes across 1.6 million Occupational Safety and Health Agency audits from 1990 through 2010. We find that discretion in enforcement differs in state and federally conducted inspections. State agencies are more sensitive to local economic conditions, finding fewer standard violations and fewer serious violations as unemployment increases. Larger companies receive greater lenience in multiple dimensions. Inspector issued fines and final fines, after negotiated reductions, are both smaller during Republican presidencies. Quantile regression analysis reveals that Presidential and Congressional party affiliations have their greatest impact on the largest negotiated reductions in fines.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35
Keywords: regulation, enforcement, occupational safety, institutional differences
JEL Classification: K23, H73, I18working papers series
Date posted: February 8, 2012 ; Last revised: April 27, 2013
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