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Perceived risk and value of workplace safety in a developing country

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We examine the relationship between wages and perceived occupational health risks for petrochemical workers in Taiwan. We estimate hedonic wage functions to compare workers' wages to their perceived risks of fatal and disabling accidents. The results indicate that workers in risky jobs receive a compensating wage differential, after controlling for education, job tenure, and occupational classification. The values of mitigating health risks are estimated using models that control for both fatal and nonfatal accident risks, and so do not suffer the omitted-variable bias characteristic of most earlier studies. The estimated values of statistical life and disabling injury are US$624 000 and US$44 000 in 1995 dollars. We also find a positive relationship between quitting intentions and perceived job risk, which supports the hypothesis that workers' risk perceptions evolve with on-the-job experience.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 1999

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