IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Have Changing Liability Rules Compensated Workers Twice for Occupational Hazards? Earnings Premiums and Cancer Risks


  • Lott, John R, Jr
  • Manning, Richard L


During the last couple of decades, courts have intervened in employment relationships by allowing employees to circumvent the workers' compensation liability restrictions. Recent papers point to firms' divesting themselves of operations whose employees handled dangerous substances as a way of protecting themselves from these new liabilities. These actions supposedly prevent their workers from being justly compensated. We show that the central legal premise behind this argument is wrong. Firms cannot expose workers to hazards and then eliminate this liability by divesting or shutting down the hazardous operation. This paper also shows that workers were already being well compensated for carcinogenic exposures even before courts started allowing workers to collect large damages for occupational illnesses. Instituting the new liability rules also coincided with a large drop in earnings premiums. The large premiums imply that workers who received court awards were essentially compensated twice for their misfortune. Copyright 2000 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Lott, John R, Jr & Manning, Richard L, 2000. "Have Changing Liability Rules Compensated Workers Twice for Occupational Hazards? Earnings Premiums and Cancer Risks," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 99-130, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:29:y:2000:i:1:p:99-130

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
    2. Kathryn E. Spier, 1994. "Pretrial Bargaining and the Design of Fee-Shifting Rules," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 197-214, Summer.
    3. Chung, Tai-Yeong, 1996. "Settlement of Litigation under Rule 68: An Economic Analysis," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 261-286, January.
    4. Jennifer F. Reinganum & Louise L. Wilde, 1986. "Settlement, Litigation, and the Allocation of Litigation Costs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(4), pages 557-566, Winter.
    5. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1984. "Litigation and Settlement under Imperfect Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
    6. Anderson, David A, 1994. "Improving Settlement Devices: Rule 68 and Beyond," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 225-246, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Bellavance, Franois & Dionne, Georges & Lebeau, Martin, 2009. "The value of a statistical life: A meta-analysis with a mixed effects regression model," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 444-464, March.
    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. Leiter, Andrea & Thöni, Magdalena & Winner, Hannes, 2012. "Evaluating human life using court decisions on damages for pain and suffering," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 119-128.
    4. Robert Sandy & Robert F. Elliott, 2005. "Long-term Illness and Wages: The Impact of the Risk of Occupationally Related Long-term Illness on Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(3).
    5. Matthew Cole & Robert Elliott & Joanne Lindley, 2009. "Dirty money: Is there a wage premium for working in a pollution intensive industry?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 161-180, October.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:29:y:2000:i:1:p:99-130. 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: (Journals Division). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.