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Did Workers Pay for the Passage of Workers' Compensation Laws?

  • Fishback, Price V
  • Kantor, Shawn Everett

Market responses to legislative reforms often mitigate the expected gains that reformers promise in legislation. Contemporaries hailed workers' compensation as a boon to workers because it raised the amount of postaccident compensation paid to injured workers. Despite the large gains to workers, employers often supported the legislation. Analysis of several wage samples from the early 1900s shows that employers were able to pass a significant part of the added costs of higher postaccident compensation on to some workers in the form of reductions in wages. The size of the wage offsets, however, was smaller for union workers. Copyright 1995, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 110 (1995)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 713-42

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:110:y:1995:i:3:p:713-42
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