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Cyclical Fluctuations in Workplace Accidents

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  • Boone, Jan

    ()
    (Tilburg University)

  • van Ours, Jan C.

    ()
    (Tilburg University)

Abstract

This paper presents a theory and an empirical investigation on cyclical fluctuations in workplace accidents. The theory is based on the idea that reporting an accident dents the reputation of a worker and raises the probability that he is fired. Therefore a country with a high or an increasing unemployment rate has a low (reported) workplace accident rate. The empirical investigation concerns workplace accidents in OECD countries. The analysis confirms that workplace accident rates are inversely related to both the level of unemployment and the change in unemployment. Furthermore, fatal accident rated do not fluctuate over the cycle. We conclude that our empirical analysis is in line with our theory: cyclical fluctuations in workplace accidents have to do with reporting behavior of workers and not with changes in workplace safety.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 627.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp627

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Keywords: unemployment; workplace accidents;

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References

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  1. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher, 1999. "New Developments in Models of Search in the Labour Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 2053, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. María Guadalupe, 2002. "The Hidden Costs of Fixed Term Contracts: the Impact On Work Accidents," CEP Discussion Papers dp0551, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Askildsen, Jan Erik & Bratberg, Espen & Nilsen, Øivind Anti, 2002. "Unemployment, labour force composition and sickness absence. A panel data study," Working paper Series 0205, Department of Economics, University of Bergen.
  4. Thomas J. Kniesner & John D. Leeth, 1989. "Separating the reporting effects from the injury rate effects of workers' compensation insurance: A hedonic simulation," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 42(2), pages 280-293, January.
  5. Arai, Mahmood & Skogman Thoursie, Peter, 2001. "Incentives and Selection in Cyclical Absenteeism," Working Paper Series 167, Trade Union Institute for Economic Research.
  6. Bruce D. Meyer & W. Kip Viscusi & David L. Durbin, 1990. "Workers' Compensation and Injury Duration: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 3494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Stephen Nickell & D. Nicolitsas, 1994. "Wages," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51644, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  8. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650, May.
  9. Johansson, Per & Palme, Marten, 1996. "Do economic incentives affect work absence? Empirical evidence using Swedish micro data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 195-218, February.
  10. Brown, Sarah & Sessions, John G, 1996. " The Economics of Absence: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 23-53, March.
  11. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2001. "Economic Expansions Are Unhealthy: Evidence from Microdata," NBER Working Papers 8447, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Per Johansson & Mårten Palme, 2002. "Assessing the Effect of Public Policy on Worker Absenteeism," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(2), pages 381-409.
  13. Leigh, J. Paul, 1985. "The effects of unemployment and the business cycle on absenteeism," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 159-170, May.
  14. Barmby, Tim & Sessions, John G & Treble, John G, 1994. " Absenteeism, Efficiency Wages and Shirking," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(4), pages 561-66.
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Cited by:
  1. Jan Erik Askildsen & Espen Bratberg & Øivind Anti Nilsen, 2005. "Unemployment, labor force composition and sickness absence: a panel data study," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(11), pages 1087-1101.
  2. Anna Maria MOUZA & Antonis TARGOUTZIDIS, 2010. "The Effect of The Economic Cycle on Workplace Accidents In Six European Countries," Ege Academic Review, Ege University Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, vol. 10(1), pages 1-13.
  3. Boone, J. & Ours, J.C. van, 2006. "Are recessions good for workplace safety?," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-194306, Tilburg University.

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