The Journal of Economic Inequality

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 123–152 | Cite as

Safety segregation: The importance of gender, race, and ethnicity on workplace risk

  • John D. LeethEmail author
  • John Ruser


Using micro data of the Bureau of Labor Statistics we examine the extent and the causes of workplace risk inequality in the United States. Far more men than women and far more blacks and Hispanics than whites are killed or injured at work. Occupational differences between men and women and among the races explain most, but not all, of the workplace risk inequality in the United States. After controlling for occupation, men experience twice as many workplace fatalities as women but fewer nonfatal injuries, while black and Hispanic males experience slightly more workplace fatalities than white males but fewer nonfatal workplace injuries. We find little evidence men choose higher risk jobs and women lower risk jobs because of differences in economic circumstances or risk preferences. But economic and taste factors explain large fractions of the fatal and the nonfatal injury rate differences by race/ethnicity. Workplace risk inequality among the races primarily reflects differences in educational attainment.

Key words

economic inequality employment conditions fatalities hedonic equilibrium non-fatal injuries Oaxaca decomposition occupational choice standardized injury rates workplace safety 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsBentley CollegeWalthamUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Bureau of Economic AnalysisWashingtonUSA

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