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The Durable Experiment: State Insurance of Workers' Compensation Risk in the Early Twentieth Century

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 March 2009

Price V. Fishback
Affiliation:
Professor of Economics, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, and Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA 02138
Shawn Everett Kantor
Affiliation:
Associate Professor of Economics, University of Arizona and Faculty Research Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research.

Abstract

In the early 1910s state governments debated the private versus public underwriting of workers' compensation risk. The choices they made established the existing system today and set the stage for later debates over the government's underwriting of unemployment, health, and disability risks. This article offers both quantitative and case-study analyses of states' original choices between public and private insurance. Monopoly state funds were adopted in some states because of an unusual combination of strong unions and weak insurance and agricultural interests. In other states, the emergence of progressive political coalitions played the decisive role.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Economic History Association 1996

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