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Back pain claim rates and the business cycle

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  • Brooker, Ann-Sylvia
  • Frank, John W.
  • Tarasuk, Valerie S.
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    Abstract

    The causes of reported occupational back pain are controversial. Many observers appear to believe that job insecurity increases back pain compensation claims during recessions. The purpose of this study was to formally examine the impact of macro-economic forces--the business cycle--on the incidence of lost-time back pain claim rates in order to elicit clues to both its aetiology and reporting patterns. For Ontario between 1975 and 1993, age- and sex-adjusted lost-time back pain claim rates, stratified by industry sector (construction, manufacturing and trade), were regressed on the unemployment rate of the industry sector using time series methods. As a comparison group, the association between "acute" claims (fractures, lacerations, etc.) and the business cycle was also tested. Both back pain claim rates and acute claim rates increased during boom periods and decreased during recessionary periods. Time series analyses confirmed that these associations were statistically significant. The elasticities between claim rates and the unemployment rate were similar for back pain claims and acute claims. In addition, these associations were consistent in direction across all three industrial sectors tested. These results rebut the view that back pain claims increase during recessionary times.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VBF-3SWXX70-2M/2/a96d87c0ac7cc344c09f87515529451e
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 45 (1997)
    Issue (Month): 3 (August)
    Pages: 429-439

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:45:y:1997:i:3:p:429-439

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    Related research

    Keywords: occupational health back pain accidents socio-economic factors workers' compensation unemployment;

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    Cited by:
    1. Michele Campolieti & Harry A. Krashinsky, 2003. "Substitution Between Disability Support Programs in Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 29(4), pages 417-429, December.
    2. Hugo Benítez Silva & Richard Disney & Sergi Jiménez-Martín, 2009. "Disability, capacity for work and the business cycle: An international perspective," Economics Working Papers 1171, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    3. Boone, Jan & van Ours, Jan C. & Wuellrich, Jean-Philippe & Zweimüller, Josef, 2011. "Recessions are bad for workplace safety," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 764-773, July.
    4. Michele Campolieti, 2002. "Moral Hazard and Disability Insurance: On the Incidence of Hard-to-Diagnose Medical Conditions in the Canada/Quebec Pension Plan Disability Program," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 28(3), pages 419-441, September.

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