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Cyclical Fluctuations in Workplace Accidents


  • Boone, Jan

    () (Tilburg University)

  • van Ours, Jan C.

    () (Erasmus University Rotterdam)


This paper presents a theory and an empirical investigation on cyclical fluctuations in workplace accidents. The theory is based on the idea that reporting an accident dents the reputation of a worker and raises the probability that he is fired. Therefore a country with a high or an increasing unemployment rate has a low (reported) workplace accident rate. The empirical investigation concerns workplace accidents in OECD countries. The analysis confirms that workplace accident rates are inversely related to both the level of unemployment and the change in unemployment. Furthermore, fatal accident rated do not fluctuate over the cycle. We conclude that our empirical analysis is in line with our theory: cyclical fluctuations in workplace accidents have to do with reporting behavior of workers and not with changes in workplace safety.

Suggested Citation

  • Boone, Jan & van Ours, Jan C., 2002. "Cyclical Fluctuations in Workplace Accidents," IZA Discussion Papers 627, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp627

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Erik Askildsen & Espen Bratberg & Øivind Anti Nilsen, 2005. "Unemployment, labor force composition and sickness absence: a panel data study," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(11), pages 1087-1101.
    2. Boone, Jan & van Ours, Jan C., 2006. "Are recessions good for workplace safety?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1069-1093, November.
    3. Furceri, Davide, 2010. "Stabilization effects of social spending: Empirical evidence from a panel of OECD countries," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 34-48, March.
    4. Anna Maria MOUZA & Antonis TARGOUTZIDIS, 2010. "The Effect of The Economic Cycle on Workplace Accidents In Six European Countries," Ege Academic Review, Ege University Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, vol. 10(1), pages 1-13.

    More about this item


    unemployment; workplace accidents;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy

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