A Strategic Approach to Labor Inspection

Source: David Weil, Boston University School of Management, Research Paper No. 2009-4, May 2008

From the abstract:
The challenges facing workplace regulators are daunting: Workplace agencies in developing and developed countries alike face severe resource constraints. Changes in the workplace, from the growth of the informal sector and the fissuring of the traditional employment relationship to the decline of labor unions and emergence of new forms of workplace risk make the task facing labor inspectors far more complicated. This complex workplace environment cannot be addressed by simple calls for more resources or better training. Instead, I discuss four major principles – prioritization, deterrence, sustainability, and systemic effects – that labor inspectorates need to integrate into framing enforcement policies as part of a strategic approach to the complex regulatory environment. I then apply these criteria to evaluating interventions in the primary domains of enforcement: responding to worker complaints and conducting programmatic investigations.

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