The biggest gender gap that dare not speak its name

Gender gaps in injuries and fatalities go beyond those industries demanding physical.strength.

accident compensation claims by gender

There are noticeable differences in the occupational choices of single people, parents, and single parents. Women choose safer jobs than men; single moms or dads are most averse to fatal risk because they have the most to lose. About one quarter of occupational differences between men and women can be attributed to the risks of injury and death.

All but 3 of the fatal workplace accidents in New Zealand in 2015 were men.

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Source: Accident Compensation Corporation,  Statistics New Zealand.

This gender gap in the risk of injury and death can lead to a significant gender wage gap because of the wage premium associated with these risks and in particular the risk of death as Viscusi explained.

The bottom line is that market forces have a powerful influence on job safety. The $120 billion in annual wage premiums referred to earlier is in addition to the value of workers’ compensation. Workers on moderately risky blue-collar jobs, whose annual risk of getting killed is 1 in 10,000, earn a premium of $300 to $500 per year.

The imputed compensation per “statistical death” (10,000 times $300 to $500) is therefore $3 million to $5 million. Even workers who are not strongly averse to risk and who have voluntarily chosen extremely risky jobs, such as coal miners and firemen, receive compensation on the order of $600,000 per statistical death…

Other evidence that the safety market works comes from the decrease in the riskiness of jobs throughout the century. One would predict that as workers become wealthier they will be less desperate to earn money and will therefore demand more safety.

A German study was able to reduce a raw gender wage gap of 20% to 1% after accounting for differences between gender in the risk of injury and death in addition to the usual factors. This 2007 study found that they were the 2nd study ever to make this adjustment.

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Occupational segregation a weak reed to hang #genderwagegap @FairnessNZ

NZ has a gender wage gap of 6% according to the OECD and 12% according to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, with 30% of that explained by occupational segregation. That is 2 to 4 percentage points.

You have to explain occupational segregation. Men are represented more in occupations that are riskier. They are paid more for that. There are systematic differences in the occupational choices of married parents, single parents and single mothers regarding the risks of injury. Again, that feeds into wages.

Occupational segregation explains 2 to 4 percentage points of wages. Given that risk premiums – danger money – and trading lower wages for greater flexibility in a job can easily reduce wages or increase them by 2-4%, occupational segregation is simply a proxy for measurement error.

Still more of wage premiums has to be poured into this 2-4% of wages such as occupational segregation in unsocial work hours. Many more women than men work 9 to 5 during the week. Men would then have a wage premium for working nights and weekends. A hell a lot has to be explained away by just 2 to 4% wages.

What does undervalued work mean? Does it mean it is very profitable to employ women in certain occupations such as caring. That implies that high profits will lead new firms to enter these industries bidding up wages and equalising them with other competing jobs.

Why women live longer than men.