“Square Deal” or Raw Deal? Market Compensation for Workplace Disamenities, 1884—1903

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Early twentieth-century social reformers claimed that public insurance was necessary because employers ignored the financial needs of their unemployed, injured, or ill workers. Reformers dismissed the idea that competition in the labor market would boost the wages of workers who faced greater chances of job-related financial distress. This article reports a test of the compensating-wage-difference hypothesis on wage samples of men, women, and children from 1884 to 1903. We found mixed support for the reformers’ claims: unemployment risk tended to be fully compensated; accident risk was only partially compensated; and occupational illness went unremunerated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)826-848
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Economic History
Volume52
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics

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