Cigarette Smokers as Job Risk Takers
W. Kip Viscusi
Vanderbilt University - Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Vanderbilt University - Department of Economics; Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management; Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics
Vanderbilt University - Law School; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management; Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics
Review of Economics and Statistics
Using a large data set, the authors find that smokers select riskier jobs, but receive lower total wage compensation for risk than do nonsmokers. This finding is inconsistent with conventional models of compensating differentials. The authors develop a model in which worker risk preferences and job safety performance lead to smokers facing a flatter market offer curve than nonsmokers. The empirical results support the theoretical model. Smokers are injured more often controlling for their job's objective risk and are paid less for these risks of injury. Smokers and nonsmokers, in effect, are segmented labor market groups with different preferences and different market offer curves.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 39
JEL Classification: J28, J17, I12
Date posted: October 5, 2000
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