The Determinants of Federal and State Enforcement of Workplace Safety Regulations: OSHA Inspections 1990-2010

35 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2012 Last revised: 27 Apr 2013

Michael D. Makowsky

Clemson University - John E. Walker Department of Economics

Juergen Jung

Towson University - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 25, 2013

Abstract

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.

Keywords: regulation, enforcement, occupational safety, institutional differences

JEL Classification: K23, H73, I18

Suggested Citation

Makowsky, Michael D. and Jung, Juergen, The Determinants of Federal and State Enforcement of Workplace Safety Regulations: OSHA Inspections 1990-2010 (April 25, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2001203 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2001203

Michael D. Makowsky (Contact Author)

Clemson University - John E. Walker Department of Economics ( email )

Clemson, SC 29634
United States

HOME PAGE: http://michaelmakowsky.com

Juergen Jung

Towson University - Department of Economics ( email )

Baltimore, MD
United States
812-345-9182 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://juejung.github.io/

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