NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

OSHA Enforcement, Industrial Compliance and Workplace Injuries

Ann P. Bartel, Lacy Glenn Thomas

NBER Working Paper No. 953 (Also Reprint No. r0626)
Issued in August 1982
NBER Program(s):   LS

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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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w0953

Published: Bartel, Ann P. and Lacy Glenn Thomas. "Direct and Indirect Effects of Regulation: A New Look at OSHA's Impact." Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 28, No. 1, (April 1985), pp. 1-25.

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