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Estimation of Wage–Risk Differentials Without Wages

Donald Vitaliano ()

The American Economist, 2019, vol. 64, issue 2, 188-196

Abstract: Utilizing the duality properties of a production/profit function, this article estimates the risk premium received by Pennsylvania bituminous coal miners in 1915, without recourse to any information related to wages. A Cobb-Douglas coal production function is fitted to data for 694 mining establishments. Miners received modest risk compensation, expressed as the value of a statistical life (VSL), of US$6,020 for fatal injuries and US$3,550 for nonfatal accidents. Converted to current price and wage levels, the death risk VSL is roughly US$400,000—far below modern multi-million dollar life values for workplace risk. JEL Classifications : II0, JI7, J28, LII, L72

Keywords: compensating differentials; value of a statistical life; production function; coal mining (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1177/0569434519841065

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Handle: RePEc:sae:amerec:v:64:y:2019:i:2:p:188-196