Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this book chapter or follow this series

The Irony of Reform. Did Large Employers Subvert Workplace Safety Reform, 1869 to 1930?

In: Corruption and Reform: Lessons from America's Economic History

Contents:

Author Info

  • Price V. Fishback

Abstract

Between 1869 and the early 1900s state governments regulated safety in mines and factories and reformed the liability for accidents. Reformers sought to reduce workers' risks and ensure that those involved in accidents received reasonable medical care and compensation for lost earnings. Yet large employers often wielded significant clout. This paper explores the extent to which large employers, measured by average number of employees, subverted the safety reform process, including the adoption of safety legislation, its scope, and the resources devoted to enforcement. The findings vary by industry. In coal mining large employers followed a defensive strategy, limiting the breadth of regulation, pressing for regulations that were enforced more against workers than against employers, and weakening enforcement. In manufacturing, on the other hand, safety regulations were introduced earlier in states with larger average establishment sizes. Reformers may have succeeded in imposing regulations on large manufacturing employers. However, the finding is also consistent with large firms working to raise rivals' costs and the analytical narratives suggest that manufacturing employers at times shaped the legislation to their benefit and that the regulations were often poorly enforced.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.nber.org/chapters/c9988.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

as in new window

This chapter was published in:

  • Edward L. Glaeser & Claudia Goldin, 2006. "Corruption and Reform: Lessons from America's Economic History," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number glae06-1, July.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 9988.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:9988

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Email:
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research

    Keywords:

    Other versions of this item:

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2001. "The Rise of the Regulatory State," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1934, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    2. Kim, Seung-Wook & Fishback, Price V., 1993. "Institutional Change, Compensating Differentials, and Accident Risk in American Railroding, 1892–1945," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(04), pages 796-823, December.
    3. Price V. Fishback & Shawn Everett Kantor, 1994. "Did Workers Pay for the Passage of Workers' Compensation Laws?," NBER Working Papers 4947, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
    5. Steven Shavell, 2003. "Economic Analysis of Accident Law," NBER Working Papers 9483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Casey B. Mulligan & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Population and Regulation," NBER Working Papers 10234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Fishback, Price V., 1986. "Workplace safety during the progressive era: Fatal accidents in bituminous coal mining, 1912-1923," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 269-298, July.
    8. Price V. Fishback & Shawn Everett Kantor, 2000. "A Prelude to the Welfare State: The Origins of Workers' Compensation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number fish00-1, July.
    9. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 1999. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," NBER Working Papers 6993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Bartel, Ann P & Thomas, Lacy Glenn, 1985. "Direct and Indirect Effects of Regulation: A New Look at OSHA's Impact," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 1-25, April.
    11. Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Gurgul, Henryk & Lach, Łukasz, 2014. "Globalization and economic growth: Evidence from two decades of transition in CEE," MPRA Paper 52231, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:9988. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.