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Permanent Injury and the Disability-Mitigating Effects of Education


  • Bruce Cater

    () (Trent University)

  • Sohee Kang

    () (University of Toronto)

  • Byron Lew

    () (Trent University)

  • Marco Pollanen

    () (Trent University)


Using data from Ontario, we study the extent to which education mitigates the realized work-disabling effects of permanent occupational injury. Focusing first on the rates of post-injury employment, our results suggest that education has a strong disability-mitigating effect in cases of knee and shoulder injuries, but a smaller effect where workers have experienced permanent back or wrist/finger injuries. A comparison of pre- and post-injury occupations then reveals that education mitigates disability not so much by facilitating job shifting, but rather by enabling the individual to return to the pre-injury occupation. These latter results suggest that education may mitigate disability somewhat indirectly by facilitating the accumulation of occupation-specific human capital that, in turn, compensates for the effects of physical impairment.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce Cater & Sohee Kang & Byron Lew & Marco Pollanen, 2013. "Permanent Injury and the Disability-Mitigating Effects of Education," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(3), pages 2064-2079.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-13-00114

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cater, Bruce I, 2000. "Employment, Wage, and Accommodation Patterns of Permanently Impaired Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 74-97, January.
    2. Johnson, William G & Ondrich, Jan, 1990. "The Duration of Post-injury Absences from Work," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(4), pages 578-586, November.
    3. Campolieti, Michele, 2001. "Recurrence in Workers' Compensation Claims: Estimates from a Multiple Spell Hazard Model," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 75-94, July.
    4. William P. Curington, 1994. "Compensation for Permanent Impairment and the Duration of Work Absence: Evidence from Four Natural Experiments," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(3), pages 888-910.
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    More about this item


    Permanent Impairment; Disability; Employment; Adaptation;

    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General


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