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Regulatory Enforcement, Politics, and Institutional Distance: OSHA Inspections 1990-2010

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  • Juergen Jung

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Towson University)

  • Michael D. Makowsky

    ()
    (Center for Advanced Modeling of the Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins University)

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.

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File URL: http://www.towson.edu/cbe/economics/workingpapers/2012-02.pdf
File Function: First version, 2012
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Towson University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2012-02.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision: Apr 2013
Handle: RePEc:tow:wpaper:2012-02

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Towson, Maryland 21252-0001
Phone: 410-704-2959
Fax: 410-704-3424
Web page: http://www.towson.edu/cbe/economics/
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Related research

Keywords: Regulation; Enforcement; Occupational Safety; Institutional Differences.;

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  1. Arrow, Kenneth J. & Cropper, Maureen L. & Eads, George C. & Hahn, Robert W. & Lave, Lester B. & Noll, Roger G. & Portney, Paul R. & Russell, Milson & Schmalensee, Richard & Smith, V. Kerry & Stavins, , 1997. "Is there a role for benefit-cost analysis in environmental, health, and safety regulation?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(02), pages 195-221, May.
  2. Leung, S.F. & Yu, S., 1992. "On the Choice Between Sample Selection and Two-Part Models," RCER Working Papers 337, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  3. Kishore Gawande & Alok K. Bohara, 2005. "Agency Problems in Law Enforcement: Theory and Application to the U.S. Coast Guard," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(11), pages 1593-1609, November.
  4. Puhani, Patrick A, 2000. " The Heckman Correction for Sample Selection and Its Critique," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 53-68, February.
  5. W. Kip Viscusi, 1996. "Economic Foundations of the Current Regulatory Reform Efforts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 119-134, Summer.
  6. Weingast, Barry R & Moran, Mark J, 1983. "Bureaucratic Discretion or Congressional Control? Regulatory Policymaking by the Federal Trade Commission," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(5), pages 765-800, October.
  7. Gray, Wayne B & Jones, Carol Adaire, 1991. "Are OSHA Health Inspections Effective? A Longitudinal Study in the Manufacturing Sector," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(3), pages 504-08, August.
  8. Michael D. Makowsky & Thomas Stratmann, 2009. "Political Economy at Any Speed: What Determines Traffic Citations?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 509-27, March.
  9. Sunstein, Cass R., 2008. "Is OSHA Unconstitutional'," Working paper 557, Regulation2point0.
  10. Wayne B. Gray & Carol Adaire Jones, 1991. "Longitudinal Patterns of Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration Health and Safety Regulations in the Manufacturing Sector," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(4), pages 623-653.
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