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Problems of market adjustments to occupational safety and health hazards


  • Chichilnisky, Graciela


This paper analyses problems of labor market adjustments to occupational safety and health (OSH) hazards. It also presents analytical models for the eventual measurement and empirical analyses of factors effecting the level of OSH hazards in the workplace. This study does not pretend to deal with the regulatory problem in occupational terms. It nevertheless raises conceptual issues that may be relevant for regulatory strategy. Section I contains a statement of the problem and an outline of the analysis. Section II discusses the concept of appropriate levels of OSH. Section II studies the role of the market: wage differentials that compensate for OSH hazards ; some characteristics of market allocations of wages and safety such as efficiency and distribution. Section IV studies market imperfections: market adjustments with imperfect information about OSH and about firms' actions regarding OSH; the quasi public good aspects of OSH; institutional rigidities such as lack of perfect mobility of workers; OSH externalities such as spillover effects of OSH on the families of workers, the community near the workplace and society as a whole; and also externalities in the production of OSH and of OSH information. Section V studies the role of the government; its objectives and instruments of OSH policies. Section VI discusses the role of labor unions. The results suggest that there is no standard 'correct policy' for OSH but a variety of policies are required.

Suggested Citation

  • Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1978. "Problems of market adjustments to occupational safety and health hazards," MPRA Paper 7998, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:7998

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stafford, Frank P. & Cohen, Malcolm S., 1974. "A model of work effort and productive consumption," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 333-347, March.
    2. Spence, Michael & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1971. "Insurance, Information, and Individual Action," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 380-387, May.
    3. Parsons, Donald O, 1972. "Specific Human Capital: An Application to Quit Rates and Layoff Rates," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(6), pages 1120-1143, Nov.-Dec..
    4. Ryder, Harl E & Stafford, Frank P & Stephan, Paula E, 1976. "Labor, Leisure and Training over the Life Cycle," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 17(3), pages 651-674, October.
    5. Richard R. Nelson, 1959. "The Simple Economics of Basic Scientific Research," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67, pages 297-297.
    6. Michael Spence, 1977. "Consumer Misperceptions, Product Failure and Producer Liability," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 561-572.
    7. Roberts, Marc J. & Spence, Michael, 1976. "Effluent charges and licenses under uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 193-208.
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    More about this item


    occupational safety; occupational health; occupational; OSH; hazards; occupational hazards; occupational safety health hazards; policy; regulation; strategy; employment; labor market; labour market; wage; compensated wage differentials; compensated wage; risk; information; asymmetric information; externalities; labour economics; labor economics; worker mobility; immobility; imperfect information; uncertainty; degree of uncertainty; social risk; risk aversion; unemployment; labour union; labor union;

    JEL classification:

    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies
    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs


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