We examine the role of repetition in government regulation. Using Florida restaurant inspection data from 2003 to 2010, we find that inspectors new to the inspected restaurant report 12.7-17.5% more violations than the second visit of a repeat inspector. This effect is even more pronounced if the previous inspector had inspected the restaurant more times. The difference between new and repeat inspectors is driven partly by inspector heterogeneity in inherent taste and stringency, and partly by new inspectors having fresher eyes in the first visit of a restaurant. These findings highlight the importance of inspector assignment in regulatory outcomes.
This article was written by Karl Storchmann