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OSHA Enforcement, Industrial Compliance and Workplace Injuries


  • Ann P. Bartel
  • Lacy Glenn Thomas


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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  • Ann P. Bartel & Lacy Glenn Thomas, 1982. "OSHA Enforcement, Industrial Compliance and Workplace Injuries," NBER Working Papers 0953, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0953 Note: LS

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    1. Borjas, George J, 1980. "Wage Determination in the Federal Government: The Role of Constituents and Bureaucrats," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(6), pages 1110-1147, December.
    2. Richard A. Posner, 1971. "Taxation by Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 22-50, Spring.
    3. Jordan, William A, 1972. "Producer Protection, Prior Market Structure and the Effects of Government Regulation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 151-176, April.
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