Improving Labor Inspections Systems: Design Options
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[Excerpt] The following paper identifies experimental designs for the evaluation of labor inspection systems in Latin America. It includes six principal sections. Section 1 discusses the main differences between the “Latin model” (Piore and Schrank 2008) of labor inspection and the more familiar approach adopted by enforcement agencies like OSHA and the Wage and Hour Division in the US. Section 2 discusses theories of regulatory noncompliance and develops a logic model that links enforcement strategies to compliance outcomes in the region. Section 3 discusses some of the strategies that are available to Latin American labor inspectors and sets the stage for a discussion of their assignment to experimental subjects. Section 4 identifies five possible subjects of experimentation (e.g., inspectors, firms, jurisdictions) and discusses their respective receptivity to both random assignment and counterfactual analysis (e.g., data needs, estimation procedures, etc.). Section 5 addresses practical considerations involved in the design and conduct of experiments on inspection systems—including their utility, ethics, and viability—and introduces a checklist designed to facilitate their assessment. And Section 6 describes three potential experiments—labeled “professionals v. partisans,” “risk-based targeting v. randomized inspection,” and “carrots v. sticks” respectively—and discusses their principal goals and limitations in light of the checklist.
labor inspection systems; Latin America; compliance