A Tale of Repetition: Lessons from Florida Restaurant Inspections

42 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2014 Last revised: 11 Oct 2021

See all articles by Ginger Zhe Jin

Ginger Zhe Jin

University of Maryland - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jungmin Lee

Seoul National University

Date Written: October 2014

Abstract

This paper examines the role of repetition in government regulation using Florida restaurant inspection data from 2003 to 2010. In the raw data, inspectors new to inspected restaurants tend to report 27% more violations than repeat inspectors. After ruling out regulatory capture and endogenous inspector rotation as potential explanations, we find that the new-repeat gap is best explained by the following two effects: first, restaurants target compliance in response to heterogenous stringency and tastes of different inspectors; second, inspectors pay greater attention in their first visit than in subsequent visits. After controlling for heterogenous inspector criteria, we find that a new inspector reports 13-18% more violations than the second visit of the previous inspector, likely due to a higher level of attention. Counterfactual simulations highlight the importance of inspector training and rotation in regulatory outcomes.

Suggested Citation

Jin, Ginger Zhe and Lee, Jungmin, A Tale of Repetition: Lessons from Florida Restaurant Inspections (October 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20596, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2513156

Ginger Zhe Jin (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States
301-405-3484 (Phone)
301-405-3542 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jungmin Lee

Seoul National University ( email )

Kwanak-gu
Seoul, 151-742
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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