Robert Smith



Robert S. Smith, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, is also a Professor in the School's Labor Economics Department. After receiving his Ph.D. in Economics at Stanford University in 1971, he taught at the University of Connecticut and worked as an economist in the U.S. Department of Labor before coming to Cornell in 1974. He has authored numerous articles in the field of labor economics and is co-author of Modern Labor Economics: Theory and Public Policy, the leading textbook in its field for 3 decades (and now in its 12th edition).

Research Focus

Professor Smith's research interests have centered on analyses of various labor market policies, especially those in the safety and health area.


Journal Articles

  • George Boyer, Robert Smith. 2001. The Development of the Neoclassical Tradition in Labor Economics, Industrial and Labor Relations Review . 54(2):199-223.
  • Olivia S Mitchell, Robert Smith. 1994. Pension Funding in the Public Sector, Review of Economics and Statistics . 76(2):278-290.
  • Robert Smith, John Ruser. 1991. Reestimating OSHA's Effects: Have the Data Changed?, Journal of Human Resources . 24(2):212-235.
  • Robert Smith, James Chelius. 1990. Profit Sharing and Employment Stability, Industrial and Labor Relations Review . 43:256S-273S.
  • Robert Smith, John Ruser. 1988. The Effect of OSHA Records Check Inspections on Reported Occupational Injuries in Manufacturing Establishments, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty . 1(4):415-435.
  • Robert Smith. 1988. Comparable Worth: Limited Coverage and the Exacerbation of Inequality, Industrial and Labor Relations Review . 41(2):227-239.
  • Robert Smith, James Chelius. 1987. Firm Size and Regulatory Compliance Costs: The Case of Workers' Compensation, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management . 6:193-206.
  • Robert Smith, Ronald Ehrenberg. 1987. Comparable Worth Wage Adjustments and Female Employment in the State and Local Sector, Journal of Labor Economics . 5(1):43-62.
  • Robert Smith. 1986. Greasing the Squeaky Wheel: The Relative Productivity of OSHA Complaint Inspections, Industrial and Labor Relations Review . 40(1):35-47.
  • Robert Smith. 1981. Compensating Differentials for Pensions and Underfunding in the Public Sector, Review of Economics and Statistics . 63(3):463-468.
  • Robert Smith, Ronald Ehrenberg. 1979. Who Pays for Pensions in the State and Local Sector: Workers or Employers?, Industrial Relations Research Association Proceedings . 57-63.
  • Robert Smith. 1979. Compensating Wage Differentials and Public Policy: A Review, Industrial and Labor Relations Review . 32(3):339-352.
  • Orley Ashenfelter, Robert Smith. 1979. Compliance with the Minimum Wage Law, Journal of Political Economy . 87(2):333-350.
  • Robert Smith. 1979. The Impact of OSHA Inspections on Manufacturing Injury Rates, Journal of Human Resources . 14(2):145-170.
  • Robert Smith. 1976. Issues in Safety and Health Regulation, Challenge . 36-37.
  • Robert Smith, Morris Goldstein. 1976. The Estimated Impact of the Anti-Discrimination Program Aimed at Federal Contractors, Industrial and Labor Relations Review . 523-543.
  • Robert Smith, Morris Goldstein. 1975. Land Reclamation Requirements and Their Estimated Effects on the Coal Industry, Journal of Economics and Environmental Management . 
  • Robert Smith. 1974. The Feasibility of an Injury Tax, Law and Contemporary Problems . 730-744.
  • Robert Smith. 1973. Labor Market Conditions and Employer Hiring Standards: Comment, Industrial Relations . 248-249.
  • Robert Smith. 1972. Intertemporal Changes in Work Injury Rates, Industrial Relations Research Association Proceedings . 167-174.


  • Robert Flanagan, Robert Smith, Lawrence Kahn, Ronald Ehrenberg. 1988. Economics of the Employment Relationship. Glenview IL, United States: Scott Foresman, 1988. 
  • James Chelius, Robert Smith. 1987. Small Business and the Financing of Workers' Compensation: Issues, Evidence, and Options. Washington, DC, United States: NFIB Foundation, 1987. 
  • Robert J Flanagan, Ronald Ehrenberg, Robert Smith. 1984. Labor Economics and Labor Relations. Glenview IL, United States: Scott, Foresman, 1984. 

Book Chapters

  • Robert Smith, George Boyer. 1998. Labor Economics. in Industrial Relations at the Dawn of the New Millennium. Ithaca NY, United States: New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, 1998. Jean T McKelvey, Maurice F Neufeld. (97-114)
  • George Boyer, Robert Smith. 1998. Labor Economics. in Industrial Relations at the Dawn of the New Millennium. Ithaca NY, United States: New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, 1998. Jean T McKelvey, Maurice F Neufeld. 
  • Robert Smith. 1992. Have OSHA and Workers' Compensation Made the Workplace Safer?. in Research Frontiers in Industrial Relations and Human Resources. Madison WI, United States: Industrial Relations Research Association, 1992. (557-587)
  • Robert Smith. 1986. The Economics of Job Displacement. in Disability and the Labor Market: Economic Problems, Policies and Programs. Ithaca NY, United States: ILR Press, 1986. Monroe Berkowitz, M Anne Hill. (171-195)
  • Robert Smith, Ronald Ehrenberg. 1983. Estimating Wage-Fringe Trade-Offs: Some Data Problems. in The Measurement of Labor Cost. Chicago IL, United States: University of Chicago Press for the National Bureau of Economic Research, Studies in Income and Wealth, 1983. Jack E Triplett. 
  • Robert Smith. 1983. Salaries and Pension Funding: Are Public Safety Officers Given Preference Over Taxpayers?. in The Economics of Municipal Labor Markets. Los Angeles CA, United States: Institute of Industrial Relations, UCLA, 1983. Werner Z Hirsch, Anthony M Ruffalo. 
  • Robert Smith, James Chelius. 1983. The Responsiveness of Injury Rates to Experience-Rating of Workers' Compensation Insurance. in Safety and the Workforce: Incentives and Disincentives in Workers' Compensation. Ithaca NY, United States: ILR Press, 1983. John Worrall. 
  • Robert Smith. 1981. Protecting Workers' Health and Safety. in Instead of Regulation. Lexington MA, United States: Lexington Books, 1981. Robert Poole. 
  • Robert Smith, Ronald Ehrenberg. 1980. A Framework for Evaluating State and Local Government Pension Reform. in Public Sector Labor Markets (Papers on Public Economics Series Vol. 4). Urban Institute, 1980. Peter Mieszkowski, George Peterson. 
  • Robert Smith, Walter Galenson. 1978. The United States. in Labor in the Twentieth Century. New York NY, United States: Academic Press, 1978. 
  • Robert Smith, Morris Goldstein. 1977. The Predicted Impact of the Black Lung Benefits Program on the Coal Industry. in Evaluating the Labor-Market Effects of Social Programs. Industrial Relations Section, Princeton University, 1977. Orley Ashenfelter, James Blum. (133-182)
  • Robert Smith. 1973. An Analysis of Work Injuries in Manufacturing Industry. in Supplemental Studies for the National Commission on State Workmen's Compensation Laws. 1973. 

Book Reviews

  • Robert Smith. 2001. Review of 'A Prelude to the Welfare State: The Origin of Workers’ Compensation' by Price V. Fishback and Shawn Everett Kantor. in Industrial and Labor Relations Review. 2001. (893-894)
  • Robert Smith. 1998. Review of 'Curing The Dutch Disease: An International Perspective on Disability Policy Reform' edited by Leo J. M. Aarts, Richard V. Burkhauser, and Philip R. DeJong. in Industrial and Labor Relations Review. 1998. (331-332)
  • Robert Smith. 1995. Review of 'Labor Economics and Industrial Relations' by Clark Kerr and Paul Staudohar. in Industrial and Labor Relations Review. 1995. (177-178)
  • Robert Smith. 1992. Review of 'The Economic Consequences of Immigration' by Julian Simon. in Industrial and Labor Relations Review. 1992. (393-395)
  • Robert Smith. 1990. Review of 'Three Worlds of Labor Economics' by Garth Mangum and Peter Philips. in Journal of Economic Literature. 1990. (111-113)
  • Robert Smith. 1988. Review of 'The Tragedy of Black Lung' by Peter S Barth. in Industrial and Labor Relations Review. 1988. (472-473)
  • Robert Smith. 1988. Review of 'Unemployment: An Economic Analysis' by K G Knight. in Industrial and Labor Relations Review. 1988. (470-471)
  • Robert Smith. 1984. Review of 'The Scientific Basis of Health and Safety Regulation' by Robert Crandall and Lester Lave. in Industrial and Labor Relations Review. 1984. (304-305)
  • Robert Smith. 1980. Review of 'Regulating Safety: An Economic and Political Analysis of Occupational Safety and Health Policy' by John Mendeloff. in Journal of Political Economy. 1980. (822-825)
  • Robert Smith. 1977. Review of 'Work and Welfare in Britain and the USA' by Bruno Stein. in Monthly Labor Review. 1977. 
  • Robert Smith. 1977. Review of 'Crisis in the Workplace' by Nicholas Ashford. in Industrial and Labor Relations Review. 1977. 
  • Robert Smith. 1973. Review of 'The Political Economy of Urban Poverty' by Charles Sackrey. in Review of Social Economy. 1973. 

Conference Proceedings

  • Robert Smith, Olivia Mitchell. 1992. Public Sector Pensions: Benefits, Funding, and Unionization. in Proceedings of the Industrial Relations Research Association, Winter 1992. Madison WI, United States: Industrial Relations Research Association, 1992. (126-133)
  • Robert Smith. 1990. Mostly on Monday: Is Workers' Compensation Covering Off-the-Job Injuries?. in Benefits, Costs, and Cycles in Workers' Compensation. Norwell MA, United States: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1990. Philip Borba, David Appel. (115-127)
  • Robert Smith, Ronald Ehrenberg. 1987. Comparable Worth in the Public Sector. in Public Sector Payrolls. Chicago IL, United States: University of Chicago Press for the National Bureau of Economic Research, 1987. 
  • Robert Smith, Ronald Ehrenberg. 1984. Economic and Statistical Analysis of Discrimination in Hiring. in Proceedings of the Industrial Relations Research Association, Winter 1983. Madison WI, United States: Industrial Relations Research Association, 1984. (22-23)
  • Robert Smith, Alan Dillingham. 1984. Union Effects on the Valuation of Fatal Risk. in Proceedings of the Industrial Relations Research Association, Winter 1983. Madison WI, United States: Industrial Relations Research Association, 1984. (270-277)