Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Political Science


Political Science

Major Professor

Shull, Steven

Second Advisor

Hadley, Charles

Third Advisor

Day, Christine

Fourth Advisor

Burby, Raymond

Fifth Advisor

Howell, Susan


This dissertation examines inspector discretion and industry compliance in the street-level implementation of building codes. In particular, this study examines the effects that agency-level, individual-level, and environmental variables have on the choice of inspectors to exercise discretion. Unique to this study is the examination of policy congruence between building departments and street-level inspectors as a predictor of industry compliance with regulatory policy. In addition, the various effects of building department enforcement philosophies, departmental capacity for enforced compliance, and environmental variables are considered. The findings indicate that regulatory policy implementation and impact are complex phenomena. There is no single, best predictor for determining what influences inspector behavior and industry compliance. Rather, this study shows that it is a multiplicity of factors, in concert, that shape regulatory outputs and outcomes. From this dissertation we can learn lessons that can be applied to other policy areas to create a better understanding of inspector discretion, improve industry compliance with regulations, and achieve more effective street-level implementation and understanding of policy impact.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.