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Workers' Compensation, Job Hazards, and Wages

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  • Stuart Dorsey
  • Norman Walzer

Abstract

Competitive theory implies that compensating wage differentials will be paid to workers in hazardous employment, but only to the extent that employees are liable for risk. This prediction suggests that previous estimates of wage-risk premiums may be biased as a result of the failure to control for variations in workers' compensation benefits across states. The authors of this paper test an empirical model of compensating wage differentials that includes a measure of employer liability. For nonunion workers, they find that significant wage premiums are paid for an increased probability or severity of nonfatal injury; a slight downward bias in these estimates results from omitting the liability variable; and increases in employers' costs of workers' compensation are offset dollar-for-dollar by reduced wages. For union workers, however, the evidence on compensating differentials is mixed, and there is no suggestion of a trade-off between wages and the costs of workers' compensation.

Suggested Citation

  • Stuart Dorsey & Norman Walzer, 1983. "Workers' Compensation, Job Hazards, and Wages," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 36(4), pages 642-654, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:36:y:1983:i:4:p:642-654
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    File URL: http://ilr.sagepub.com/content/36/4/642.abstract
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    Cited by:

    1. Dickie, Mark & Messman, Victoria L., 2004. "Parental altruism and the value of avoiding acute illness: are kids worth more than parents?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 1146-1174, November.
    2. Dionne, Georges & Lebeau, Martin, 2010. "Le calcul de la valeur statistique d’une vie humaine," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 86(4), pages 487-530, décembre.
    3. Viscusi, W Kip, 1993. "The Value of Risks to Life and Health," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1912-1946, December.
    4. Jonathan Gruber & Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "The Incidence of Mandated Employer-Provided Insurance: Lessons from Workers' Compensation Insurance," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 5, pages 111-144 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Rafael Muñoz de Bustillo & Enrique Fernández-Macías & José-Ignacio Antón & Fernando Esteve, 2011. "Measuring More than Money," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14072.
    6. Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1985. "Workers' Compensation, Wages, and the Risk of Injury," NBER Working Papers 1538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. W. Kip Viscusi, 2015. "The heterogeneity of the value of statistical life: evidence and policy implications," Chapters,in: Benefit–Cost Analyses for Security Policies, chapter 4, pages 78-116 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. repec:zbw:rwirep:0047 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. John P. Haisken-DeNew & Matthias Vorell, 2008. "Blood Money: Incentives for Violence in NHL Hockey," Ruhr Economic Papers 0047, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.

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