Do extralegal variables impact the post-inspection process of the occupational safety and health administration?

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3 Scopus citations


Regulatory law enforcement bias in the inspection, charging, and sanctioning process has been linked to the characteristics of offenses, the attributes of the regulatory agencies and the corporation, and the political and economic environment. However, the bargaining process of regulatory agencies has been less thoroughly investigated. To fill this gap in the literature, this study investigates whether certain extralegal variables affect the post-inspection bargaining process at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In particular, since previous studies have focused exclusively on fine reductions, this study examines the full range of bargaining options, including count, charge, and fine reductions. Further, this is one of the first studies to directly examine whether company financial resources impact bargaining at OSHA. Because the data are multilevel data, I use multilevel logistic and linear regressions to examine whether extralegal variables affect the reductions given to facilities in the steel, oil, pulp, and paper industries. Specifically, I test whether facility level variables (unionization and experience with the system), company level variables (financial performance and size) and state level variables (political and economic environment) affect the reductions received by facilities during the post-inspection process at OSHA. Although there was some evidence to support the idea that state political views and system familiarity affect bargaining, the results overall tend to cast doubt on the notion that extralegal variables impact the decision-making process at OSHA. Due to sample limitations, the multilevel models employed here are exploratory, but they suggest that previous studies may have overestimated the effects of extralegal variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-216
Number of pages30
JournalCrime, Law and Social Change
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Law
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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