Presented by Dr. Kristen Monaco (Ph.D.) Professor of Economics, California State University, Long Beach

METRANS will host a seminar entitled: the labor market for port truckers in Southern California” on Monday, October 17, 2005 at 12:00 pm at California State University, Long Beach Foundation Building, Suite 204.

Drivers at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are critical to goods movement within Southern California and provide a key link to trade between the region and the rest of the country. The driver survey conducted at the Port of Long Beach provides insight into the wages and working conditions of these drivers, most of whom are owner-operators and many of whom are not native to the United States. These self-employed drivers bear the risk of fluctuations in diesel prices, insurance costs, and capital expenditure, allowing drayage companies to operate with significantly lower fixed costs. The drivers work long hours (on average 11.2 hours per day) and spend 25-33% of their time involved in non-driving work (such as waiting at the ports). Their pay, while comparable to national figures on workers with a high school diploma at $29,903, involves working 33% more hours than a typical full-time worker.

Three issues related to port labor are addressed. First, a labor supply model is estimated to determine whether these drivers have dominant income or substitution effects from wage changes. Preliminary results show that drivers will reduce the number of trips per day if their effective hourly wage rate is higher, suggesting a dominant income effect. This effect is mitigated by a dominant substitution effect for those drivers who own their truck. Second, a model of waiting time is estimated to determine the firm and worker characteristics associated with improved efficiency. The final model measures the probability that a driver will take an unsafe chassis on the road, a problem that stems from a poor safety incentive scheme and causes millions of dollars in external costs annually.

Kristen Monaco is Professor of Economics at California State University Long Beach. She earned her PhD in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her research centers around labor market issues, with a focus on the trucking industry. She has published articles relating to this topic in Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Review of Industrial Organization, Research in Transport Economics, Journal of the Transportation Research Forum and Journal of Transportation and Statistics. Her book Sailors of the Concrete Sea: A Portrait of Truck Drivers’ Work and Lives, co-authored with Dale Belman and Taggert Brooks, was recently published by Michigan State University Press.

Date: Monday, October 17, 2005 at 12:00 pm at California State University, Long Beach Foundation Building, Suite 204.

For additional information please contact Tom O’Brien ( To RSVP, kindly send your email response to Kerri Phipps at by October 4, 2005.