Occupational safety and profit maximization: Friends or foes?
The rise of the Industrial Revolution is often depicted as a cause of hazardous working conditions and is skillfully epitomized in William Blake's tale of a child chimney sweeper. Conventional wisdom puts firm profit in conflict with occupational safety. We reexamine this argument noting that injuries are very costly to firms because they lead to higher wage premiums, worker compensation, and costly work stoppages. We hypothesize that it is precisely for these reasons that firms in the industries with dangerous working conditions have the strongest incentives to innovate and substitute more capital for labor. Using a longitudinal panel of U.S. industries, we test and confirm our hypothesis that higher injury rates lead to higher capital stock per worker, over time. Moreover, our estimates suggest that firms provide more capital and equipment per worker than what would have been there based solely on the compensating wage differential.
Volume (Year): 39 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175|
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.:
- Randall G. Kesselring & Jeffrey R. Pittman, 2002. "Drug Testing Laws and Employment Injuries," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 23(2), pages 294-301, April.
- Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
- Joshua Hall & Peter Leeson, 2007. "Good for the Goose, Bad for the Gander: International Labor Standards and Comparative Development," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 658-676, September.
- Hersch, Joni, 1998. "Compensating Differentials for Gender-Specific Job Injury Risks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 598-627, June.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:39:y:2010:i:3:p:429-435. 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: (Zhang, Lei)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.