Is There a Danger Premium for Jobs?

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Over at Alas, a Blog, there’s yet another post in ampersand’s marvelous series on the wage gap between men and women. This one attacks the myth, often touted by conservatives, that women earn less than men because they don’t work in dangerous “manly” fields. But, amp finds, there’s no actual wage premium for dangerous jobs.

From a free market point of view, that’s unexpected; you’d think that in a perfectly functioning labor market employers would need to offer higher pay to attract workers into dangerous fields like mining or forestry, jobs where there’s a chance of getting injured, maimed, or even killed. But no. Markets aren’t working perfectly here, either because workers don’t always get an optimal choice of what jobs to take, or because workers can’t assess the risk involved in the work they’re doing, or other factors. Not surprisingly, though, the “risk premium” reappears for unionized workers. Interesting post, worth reading in full.

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