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Changing Inequality in Markets for Workplace Amenities

Authors:
Publication Date:
Jan 1999
Project Programs:
Future of Work

Among U. S. industries where earnings rose relatively from 1979-1995, injury rates declined relatively. Obversely, during the 1960s narrowing interindustry wage differentials were associated with an increase in the relative risk of injury in high-wage industries. Evidence from the NLSY suggests similar results among full-time workers between 1988 and 1996. Between 1973 and 1991 the disamenity of evening/night work was increasingly borne by low-wage male workers. Changing earnings inequality has understated changing inequality in the returns to work. Assuming skill-neutral changes in the cost of reducing these disamenities, estimates of the implied income elasticities of demand for amenities are well above unity.

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