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Workers' Compensation and State Employment Growth

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  • Kelly D. Edmiston

Abstract

Workers' compensation reforms have been on the table in virtually every state over the last several years, and many states have launched comprehensive reforms. At least nine states undertook major reforms of their workers' compensation systems in 2004 alone, and the reforms were driven largely by claims that higher workers' compensation costs are driving away businesses and the employment that comes with them. This paper examines the relationship between workers' compensation costs, as proxied by benefits/earnings, and employment across U.S. states and the District of Columbia from 1976 to 2000. Workers' compensation costs are found to have a statistically significant negative impact on employment and wages, but the elasticities are very small, suggesting that workers' compensation is not a likely cause of jobs woes in most states. Unemployment insurance appears to have an effect of similar magnitude. Medical cost inflation is found to be a significant factor in explaining movements in workers' compensation costs over time. Copyright Blackwell Publishers, 2006

Suggested Citation

  • Kelly D. Edmiston, 2006. "Workers' Compensation and State Employment Growth," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 121-145.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jregsc:v:46:y:2006:i:1:p:121-145
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    Cited by:

    1. Alicia H. Munnell & Mauricio Soto & Robert K. Triest & Natalia A. Zhivan, 2008. "How Much Do State Economics and Other Characteristics Affect Retirement Behavior?," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2008-12, Center for Retirement Research, revised Sep 2008.
    2. Blacklow, Paul, 2009. "Assessing the Impact of Worker Compensation Premiums on Employment in Tasmania," Working Papers 10449, University of Tasmania, Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, revised 29 Nov 2010.
    3. Alicia H. Munnell & Mauricio Soto & Robert K. Triest & Natalia A. Zhivan, 2008. "Do State Economics or Individual Characteristics Determine Whether Older Men Work?," Issues in Brief ib2008-8-13, Center for Retirement Research, revised Sep 2008.
    4. Paul F. Byrne, 2017. "Have Post-Kelo Restrictions on Eminent Domain Influenced State Economic Development?," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 31(1), pages 81-91, February.
    5. Guangqing Chi & David Marcouiller, 2011. "Isolating the Effect of Natural Amenities on Population Change at the Local Level," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(4), pages 491-505.

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