Has Devolution Injured American Workers? State and Federal Enforcement of Construction Safety
AbstractAlthough the issue of regulatory devolution has received much scholarly scrutiny, rigorous empirical studies of its effects on important policy outcomes are scarce. This article explores the effects of partial regulatory devolution in the occupational safety arena by exploiting a unique historical anomaly whereby some US states enforce protective labor regulations that are enforced elsewhere by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Analyzing data from the construction industry, this article contains several important findings. First, state inspectors use traditional enforcement tools more sparingly than their federal counterparts, typically citing fewer violations and collecting lower fines per violation. Second, although federal enforcement significantly lowers the estimated frequency of nonfatal construction injuries, it also predicts a significant increase in occupational fatalities. I suggest that although higher underreporting of nonfatal injuries in federally regulated states could explain this puzzling finding, it is equally possible that different regulatory styles have different "comparative advantages" in deterring nonfatal injuries on one hand and occupational fatalities on the other. (JEL D73, D78, H73, I18, J08, J28, J88, K00, K23, K31, K32, L51, and L74) The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Yale University. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Oxford University Press.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization.
Volume (Year): 25 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
- D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
- H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
- I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
- J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies
- J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
- J88 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Public Policy
- K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)
- K23 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law
- K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law
- K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
- L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
- L74 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Construction
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