Monday, August 23, 2010

Why Don't Fishers Make More Money?

I noticed this post from the NYT economix blog that listed the most dangerous jobs in America. The most dangerous job was "fishers and related fishing workers" with a fatal work injury rate of 200 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers (the second highest rate was logging workers with a rate of 61.8). My expectation was that pay to fishers would reflect this higher danger, but the data don't appear to support that. Here are median hourly pay rates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics along with the fatal injury work rate for five of the categories:
Fishers and related fishing workers $11.34 200
Logging workers $16.56 61.8
Roofers $16.33 34.7
Structural iron and steel workers $21.40 30.3
Construction laborers $14.01 18.3

So how come fishers don't make more money?


  1. Possibilities:
    1. Pay isn't really based on the job they do, but rather how hard it is to get new capable workers. Because of the very large inhomogenity in the negative value that individuals place on risk it tends to select for men who don't really care about risk.
    2. The risk distribution for fishers if very non-normally distributed, and highly concentrated in a small group that is being paid quite well.

    I suspect its some combination of 1 and 2.

  2. Interesting - wish I had access to info on the distribution of pay.

    Thanks for the speculation.