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The determinants of federal and state enforcement of workplace safety regulations: OSHA inspections 1990–2010

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  • Juergen Jung

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  • Michael Makowsky

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Abstract

We explore the determinants of inspection outcomes across 1.6 million Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) 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. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:regeco:v:45:y:2014:i:1:p:1-33
    DOI: 10.1007/s11149-013-9229-4
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11149-013-9229-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:ecolec:v:147:y:2018:i:c:p:253-263 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Michael Makowsky & Thomas Stratmann, 2014. "Politics, unemployment, and the enforcement of immigration law," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 131-153, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Regulation; Enforcement; Occupational safety; Decentralization; K23; H73; I18;

    JEL classification:

    • K23 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law
    • 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

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