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Regulatory Federalism and Workplace Safety: Evidence from OSHA Enforcement, 1981–1995


  • John Bradbury



The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) gives states the option to enforce federal occupational safety and health standards on their own instead of relying on the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). This legislative provision provides an opportunity to analyze a homogenous set of regulatory standards enforced by heterogeneous agents engaged in interjurisdictional competition. This study finds important differences in the effectiveness of enforcement options measured by occupational mortality. State-administered OSHA programs are associated with fewer workplace fatalities than states regulated at the federal level. This finding is consistent with regulatory federalism and government-as-facilitator models of OSHA enforcement. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Suggested Citation

  • John Bradbury, 2006. "Regulatory Federalism and Workplace Safety: Evidence from OSHA Enforcement, 1981–1995," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 211-224, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:regeco:v:29:y:2006:i:2:p:211-224
    DOI: 10.1007/s11149-006-6036-1

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    Cited by:

    1. Juergen Jung & Michael Makowsky, 2014. "The determinants of federal and state enforcement of workplace safety regulations: OSHA inspections 1990–2010," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 1-33, February.

    More about this item


    OSHA; Workplace regulation; Federalism; D73; L51;

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation


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