A Prelude to the Welfare State: The Origins of Workers' Compensation

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University of Chicago Press, May 1, 2000 - Business & Economics - 316 pages
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Workers' compensation was arguably the first widespread social insurance program in the United States and the most successful form of labor legislation to emerge from the early Progressive Movement. Adopted in most states between 1910 and 1920, workers' compensation laws have been paving seen as the way for social security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and eventually the broad network of social welfare programs we have today.

In this highly original and persuasive work, Price V. Fishback and Shawn Everett Kantor challenge widespread historical perceptions, arguing that, rather than being an early progressive victory, workers' compensation succeeded because all relevant parties—labor and management, insurance companies, lawyers, and legislators—benefited from the legislation. Thorough, rigorous, and convincing, A Prelude to the Welfare State: The Origins of Workers' Compensation is a major reappraisal of the causes and consequences of a movement that ultimately transformed the nature of social insurance and the American workplace.
 

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Contents

Compensation for Accidents before
28
The Economic Impact of the Switch
54
The Timing of Workers Compensations
88
The Political Process of Adopting
120
The Fractious Disputes over State Insurance
148
The Battles over Benefit Levels 19101930
172
Lessons from the Origins
197
Measuring the Change
224
A Model of Insurance Consumption
238
Employers Liability Laws
251
State versus Private Insurance
267
References
287
Index
303
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About the author (2000)

Price V. Fishback is the Frank and Clara Kramer ProfessorofEconomics at the University of Arizona and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is the author of Government and the American Economy: A New History.