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Worker Sorting and the Risk of Death on the Job

Publication Abstract

Levy, Helen, and Thomas DeLeire. 2004. "Worker Sorting and the Risk of Death on the Job." Journal of Labor Economics, 22(4): 925-953.

This article examines worker sorting across occupations in response to the risk of death on the job. We use family structure as a proxy for willingness to trade safety for wages to test the proposition that workers with strong aversion to this risk sort into safer jobs. We estimate conditional logit models of occupation choice as a function of injury risk and other job attributes. Our results confirm the sorting hypothesis: within gender, single moms and dads are the most averse to risk. Overall, differences in the risk of death across occupations explain about one-quarter of occupational gender segregation.

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