Friday, April 9, 2010

Compensating differentials

[Coal] mining, unlike the low-wage jobs that predominate here [in Horse Creek, West Virginia], can provide a worker who is barely 20 years old with a home, a nice truck and a savings account.

“That’s the way it is around here,” Ms. Quarles said. “How many people can graduate high school today and tomorrow make $70,000 a year?” ...

In Raleigh County, where the Upper Big Branch mine is located, underground miners make an average of $1,476 a week [$76,752 a year], or more than twice the average income in the county. ...

Evan Hash, 22, makes about $50,000 a year as a surface miner, a less risky and lower-paying job than deep mining. But with the birth of his first child last month, Mr. Hash is eager to take the classes required to go “down under.” He would make, he said, $1,200 more each month.
--Shaila Dewan, NYT, on the finite price of risking your life

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