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.
• Offers a radical critique of the way in which mainstream economics treats dangerous work, arguing that it is not possible to put a value on human life • Will be of interest to economists, but also to people working on public policy, philosophy, and politics • Well written and highly accessible for non-economists, though it uses the latest research and techniques
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.