*Names in bold indicate Presenter
To further understand why an additional inspector might matter, several explanations, including regulatory capture and social pressure, will be investigated. Group dynamics of inspectors will be examined by measuring the number of times that a group of inspectors has been together, as a proxy for how familiar they are with one another, and how often they have inspected the production platform, as a proxy for how familiar they are with the inspected party. A key advantage of the dataset is that it provides a record of each inspector’s inspection history, which allows us to calculate proxies for the familiarity an inspector has with a facility or with other inspectors in the group. To our knowledge, all of the previous studies of collusive behavior and social pressure on enforcers are based on individual behavior---not group dynamics.
Since the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, there have been calls for significant increases in government enforcement activity. The 2012 fiscal year budget for the United States government doubled the budget for the offshore regulator to $500 million, with the call to “hire new oil and gas inspectors.” An increase in the number of inspectors will likely result in an increase in the frequency of inspections, but it could also allow for an increase in the number of inspectors that are sent to each platform. Our results are relevant understanding the optimal number of inspectors to send on an inspection.