Makofske Publishes in Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization

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Would kitchens be just as clean if restaurants knew in advance when the health inspector was likely to stop by? Studying Las Vegas facilities that are home to multiple restaurants, Assistant Professor of Economics Matthew Makofske finds evidence that they wouldn’t. He recently offered details in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, with a paper titled “Spoiled food and spoiled surprises: Inspection anticipation and regulatory compliance.”

Facilities like casinos, hotels, and shopping malls often house more than one food-service establishment. In Las Vegas, it is common for an inspector to review multiple restaurants during a single visit to such facilities. But do the restaurants that are inspected second or third truly receive surprise inspections? Makofske finds that restaurants are cited for 30% more critical violations on days when they’re inspected first, suggesting they rely on anticipation ability to fix violations just before imminent inspections.