Title: Occupational stress: some microeconomic issues

Authors: Demetri Kantarelis

Addresses: Department of Economics and Global Studies, Assumption College, 500 Salisbury Street, Worcester, MA 01609-1296, USA

Abstract: In an attempt to capture the essence of issues associated with occupational stress, some neo-classical microeconomic theoretical concepts are proposed along with a suggestion for a screening test as well as popular and professional press summaries that appear to justify the underlying logic of this paper. Firstly, assuming that stress is a factor of production and that the firm functions in an environment free of any regulation, a proposed model predicts that the profit maximising stress level (S*) is less than the stress level that maximises output. Additionally, reduction below S* may be achieved only if a firm|s increase in cost for stress relief in the work place guarantees productivity and profit improvement in exchange for a reduction in employee health damages/costs due to stress. Moreover, assuming that a stress standard inside the firm can be identified, compliance with that standard by reallocating stress from one group of employees to another or from one production plant to another may contribute to a reduction in total damages to employees and/or to a reduction in total stress relief expenditures to the firm. Secondly, a regulated firm subject to a standard, decided upon outside the firm, may trigger unintended outcomes due to mis-estimation of that standard: if the standard is considerably less than S*, the firm may not have the incentive to comply.

Keywords: microeconomics; behavioural economics; occupational stress; screening test; stress relief expenditure; workplace stress; productivity improvement; profit improvement; stress standard; job stress; stress management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMCP.2005.008515

International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, 2005 Vol.1 No.3, pp.232 - 247

Published online: 24 Dec 2005 *

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