Title

Enforcement and oversight - Using congressional oversight to shape OSHA bureaucratic behavior

Publication Date

2002

Document Type

Article

Abstract

This research is an extension of the body of work seeking to explain variation in levels of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enforcement as a function of national and local variation in the agency's political environment. Although we examine a number of relationships, the new question is whether legislative oversight affects the behavior of OSHA compliance officers at the district level. OSHA is an interesting test case of the impact of oversight on bureaucratic output because of the way policy is implemented—enforcement takes place in the field by street-level bureaucrats, far removed from the federal office. Using data gathered at the congressional district level(1983-1995), results suggest that variation within OSHA's enforcement behavior is influenced by oversight committee assignment, overall oversight committee's and appropriations subcommittee's attitudes toward labor, and the district representative's disposition toward labor issues. We conclude legislative oversight indeed imposes limitations on compliance officers' district-level enforcement actions.

Original Citation

Headrick, B.; Serra, G.; Twombly, J. (2002). Enforcement and oversight - Using congressional oversight to shape OSHA bureaucratic behavior. American Politics Research, 30(6), 608-629.

Identifier

DOI: 10.1177/153267302237230

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