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

Author

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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Juergen Jung & Michael D. Makowsky, 2012. "Regulatory Enforcement, Politics, and Institutional Distance: OSHA Inspections 1990-2010," Working Papers 2012-02, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:tow:wpaper:2012-02
    as

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    File URL: http://webapps.towson.edu/cbe/economics/workingpapers/2012-02.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2012
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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 504-508, August.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Regulation; Enforcement; Occupational Safety; Institutional Differences.;
    All these keywords.

    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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