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OSHA Enforcement, Industrial Compliance and Workplace Injuries

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  • Ann P. Bartel
  • Lacy Glenn Thomas
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    Abstract

    This paper develops and tests a three-equation simultaneous model of OSHA enforcement behavior, industrial compliance and workplace injuries. The enforcement equation is based on the assumption that OSHA acts as a political institution that gains support through the transfer of wealth from firms to employees; the empirical results are largely consistent with this notion. Contrary to previous work, we find that OSHA enforcement efforts have, indeed, had a statistically significant impact on industrial compliance and, further, that this compliance has led to a statistically significant decrease in worker injuries. The point estimate of the elasticity of the lost workday rate with respect to the OSHA inspection rate is -.04.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w0953.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 0953.

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    Date of creation: Aug 1982
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    Publication status: published as Bartel, Ann P. and Lacy Glenn Thomas. "Direct and Indirect Effects of Regulation: A New Look at OSHA's Impact." Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 28, No. 1, (April 1985), pp. 1-25.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0953

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    1. Richard A. Posner, 1971. "Taxation by Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 22-50, Spring.
    2. Jordan, William A, 1972. "Producer Protection, Prior Market Structure and the Effects of Government Regulation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 151-76, April.
    3. Borjas, George J, 1980. "Wage Determination in the Federal Government: The Role of Constituents and Bureaucrats," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(6), pages 1110-47, December.
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