The authors study how union certification affects the enforcement of workplace-safety laws. To generate credible causal estimates, a regression discontinuity design compares outcomes in establishments in which unions barely won representation elections to outcomes in establishments in which unions barely lost such elections. The study combines two main data sets: the census of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) representation elections and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) enforcement database since 1985. Evidence shows positive effects of union certification on establishment’s rate of OSHA inspection, the share of inspections carried out in the presence of a union representative, violations cited, and penalties assessed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Suyoun Han and Christina Owen for excellent research assistance on this project, John Budd and Alison Morantz for helpful comments, and the U.S. Department of Labor Emerging Scholars Program for financial support.
© The Author(s) 2020.
- OSHA inspections
- collective bargaining effects and enforcement
- labor market regulation
- non-financial job characteristics
- work injuries