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Offsetting Behavior in the Workplace

29 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2003  

Jonathan Klick

University of Pennsylvania Law School; Erasmus School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Thomas Stratmann

George Mason University - Buchanan Center Political Economy; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: April 14, 2003

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of workplace safety regulations on worker safety. Studies in this area must overcome the issue that regulations and worker safety are jointly determined and that regulatory resources are likely to focus on the worst offenders. We examine the effects of regulatory enforcement in the 1990s on occupational death rates by state in major industries, and propose an instrumental variables technique to isolate the causal effect of regulatory enforcement on worker safety. We find that more inspections lead to higher death rates at a statistically significant level. This counter-intuitive result suggests that increased worker safety measures induce riskier behaviors on the part of workers.

Keywords: OSHA, Safety, Labor Regulation, Offsetting Behavior

Suggested Citation

Klick, Jonathan and Stratmann, Thomas, Offsetting Behavior in the Workplace (April 14, 2003). George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 03-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=397822 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.397822

Jonathan Klick (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
2157463455 (Phone)

Erasmus School of Law ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

Thomas Stratmann

George Mason University - Buchanan Center Political Economy ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-2330 (Phone)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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