Markets and Mortality: Economics, Dangerous Work, and the Value of Human Life

Markets and Mortality: Economics, Dangerous Work, and the Value of Human Life

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Peter Dorman
Cambridge University Press
Edition: 1st Edition, 3/7/1996
EAN 9780521553063, ISBN10: 0521553067

Hardcover, 288 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.1 cm
Language: English

In this book the author examines and ultimately rejects the conventional economic view that workers who have more dangerous jobs accept their risks voluntarily and are compensated through higher wages. In doing so, he attacks widely used techniques for assigning a monetary value to human life for cost-benefit analysis and other purposes. Arguments are drawn from the history of occupational safety and health, econometric analysis of wage and risk data, and formal models of the labour market. In place of the conventional view, Peter Dorman proposes a view based on new work in decision theory (thick rationality) and the theory of repeated games. These insights are combined with comparative policy analysis to support an approach to risk that promotes both regulatory effectiveness and democratic values. Despite its technical content, the book is written in highly accessible style, and is concerned with matters of general interest in the development of critical social science.

1. The economics of risk and the risk of economics
2. The theory of compensating wage differentials
3. Putting a value on human life
4. The real world of occupational safety and health
5. Alternative theories of risk, wages, and the labour market
6. New policies to promote safety and equity in the workplace.

"Peter Dorman presents a provocative challenge to the majority view. The arguments and evidence will convince many who have no research investments in CW or value of life estimates that the majority view is wrong...A number of tantalizing facts and stories greet the reader throughout the book...The book crackles with creative writing...The arguments and evidence are sound and thought-provoking. The book should be 'required reading' among policy-makers and economists involved in OAH issues." Industrial and Labor Relations Review "...readers who want to see a review of the literature filtered through thid critical perspective will find this the most comprehensive book of its type." Joni Hersch,Journal of Economic Literature "This clearly written and provocative book provides a much-needed counterpoint to the influential books by W. Kip Viscusi, that present the neoclassical economic view." J.P. Jacobsen, Choice "...Markets and Mortality is invaluable for bringing sound critical insight and institutional detail to the study of worker safety and the related issues of the value of life...The book should be required reading for anyone interested in value-of-life issues or in workplace relations." Roger A. McCain, Eastern Economic Journal "In this well-written and tightly reasoned book, Peter Dorman sets out to destroy the traditional theory of compensating wage differentials. ...Dorman has written a book that deserves to read and discussed." Chuck Skoro and R. Larry Reynolds, Review of Social Economy