The John M. Olin Center

Paper Abstract

290. W. Kip Viscusi and Joni Hersch, Cigarette Smokers as Job Risk Takers, 08/2000; subsequently published in Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 83, No. 2, May 2001, 269-280.

Abstract: Using a large data set, the authors find that smokers select riskier jobs, but receive less hazard pay than do nonsmokers. Based on estimates using the BLS rate of lost workdays, nonsmokers have an implicit value per injury of $39,017 as compared to $20,469 for smokers. Smokers are injured more often controlling for the job's objective risk and are paid less after such injuries. This evidence is consistent with smokers facing a flatter market offer curve. Smokers and nonsmokers, in effect, are segmented labor market groups with different preferences and different market offer curves.

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