NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Compensating Wage Differentials and AIDS Risk

Jeff DeSimone, Edward J. Schumacher

NBER Working Paper No. 10861
Issued in November 2004
NBER Program(s):   HE   LS

We examine the effect of HIV/AIDS infection risks on the earnings of registered nurses (RNs) and other health care workers by combining data on metropolitan statistical area (MSA) AIDS prevalence rates with annual 1987 --2001 Current Population Survey (CPS) and quadrennial 1988 --2000 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (SRN) data. Holding constant wages of control groups that are likely not exposed to AIDS risks and group-specific MSA fixed effects, a 10 percent increase in the AIDS rate raises RN earnings by about 0.8 percent in post-1992 samples, when AIDS rates were falling but a more comprehensive categorization of AIDS was used by the CDC. AIDS wage differentials are much larger for RNs and non-nursing health practitioners than for other nursing and health care workers, suggesting that this differential represents compensation paid for job-related exposure to potentially HIV-infected blood.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w10861

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