The Adoption of Workers' Compensation in the United States 1900-1930
AbstractThe adoption of workers' compensation in the 1910s, from a variety of perspectives, was a significant event in the economic, legal, and political history of the United States. The legislation represented the first instance of a widespread social insurance program in the United States, setting the stage for the later adoption of federal government programs for unemployment insurance, old-age pensions, and health insurance. In this paper, we show that the adoption of workers' compensation was not the result of employers' or workers' to secure benefits at the expense of the other group. Nor was the success of compensation legislation simply the outcome of Progressive Era social reformers' demands for protective legislation. Workers' compensation was enacted rapidly across the United States in the 1910s because the key economic interest groups with a stake in the legislation -- employers, workers, and insurance companies -- anticipated benefits from resolving an apparent first decade of the twentieth century, workplace accident risk rose, state legislatures adopted a series of employers' liability laws, and court decisions limited employers' defenses in liability suits, which all combined to substantially increase the uncertainty of the negligence liability system.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5840.
Date of creation: Nov 1996
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- Fishback, Price V & Kantor, Shawn Everett, 1998. "The Adoption of Workers' Compensation in the United States, 1900-1930," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(2), pages 305-41, October.
- J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
- K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law
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- Fabrice Murtin & Martina Viarengo, 2007. "The convergence process of compulsory schooling in Western Europe: 1950-2000," PSE Working Papers halshs-00588053, HAL.
- Alison Morantz, 2010. "Opting Out of Workers’ Compensation in Texas: A Survey of Large, Multistate Nonsubscribers," NBER Chapters, in: Regulation vs. Litigation: Perspectives from Economics and Law, pages 197-238 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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- Fabrice Murtin & Martina Viarengo, 2011. "The Expansion and Convergence of Compulsory Schooling in Western Europe, 1950–2000," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 78(311), pages 501-522, 07.
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