There is surprisingly little academic work on the compensation of firefighters. This may be, in part, because their wages are often set by collective bargaining agreements and that those paid as firefighters are regularly paid by seniority. But many aspects of the labor market can still be studied through this interesting occupation, including labor unions, compensation for job risk and even volunteerism. Consider the mountains of papers on Fortune 500 CEOs relative to the number (500) of employees doing this job in the US. In contrast, consider the tiny number of papers on firefighters relative to the large numbers who fill these ranks (more than 300,000 in the US alone, according to 2013 data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics). There is also interesting work on arbitration of firefighter contracts. In an occupation where strikes are obviously extremely dangerous, folks have to consider alternative ways of setting disputes.

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