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When to Start a Fight and When to Fight Back: Liability Disputes in the Workers' Compensation System

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  • David Card
  • Brian P. McCall

Abstract

Contrary to the original intention of no-fault workers' compensation laws, employers deny liability for a substantial fraction of on-the-job injuries. We develop and estimate a simple structural model that explains the high rate of litigation as a consequence of asymmetric information. We estimate the model using data for a large sample of back injuries in Minnesota. Simulations under the counterfactual assumption that all denied workers pursue their claims suggest that the strategic incentive accounts for 30%-40% of observed liability disputes. (c) 2009 by The University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • David Card & Brian P. McCall, 2009. "When to Start a Fight and When to Fight Back: Liability Disputes in the Workers' Compensation System," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 149-178, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:27:y:2009:i:2:p:149-178
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Barry Nalebuff, 1987. "Credible Pretrial Negotiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 198-210, Summer.
    2. Peter S. Barth & H. Allan Hunt, 1980. "Workers' Compensation and Work-Related Illnesses and Diseases," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number psbhah1980, November.
    3. Meyer, Bruce D & Viscusi, W Kip & Durbin, David L, 1995. "Workers' Compensation and Injury Duration: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 322-340, June.
    4. Krueger, Alan B., 1990. "Incentive effects of workers' compensation insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 73-99, February.
    5. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1984. "Litigation and Settlement under Imperfect Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
    6. Gourieroux, Christian & Monfort, Alain & Renault, Eric & Trognon, Alain, 1987. "Generalised residuals," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 5-32.
    7. Manski, Charles F & Lerman, Steven R, 1977. "The Estimation of Choice Probabilities from Choice Based Samples," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(8), pages 1977-1988, November.
    8. Evangelos M. Falaris & Charles R. Link & Michael E. Staten, 1995. "Causes of Litigation in Workers' Compensation Programs," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number clwc, November.
    9. Kreider, Brent, 1999. "Social Security Disability Insurance: Applications, Awards, and Lifetime Income Flows," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 784-827, October.
    10. Cooter, Robert D & Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1989. "Economic Analysis of Legal Disputes and Their Resolution," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 1067-1097, September.
    11. Price V. Fishback & Shawn Everett Kantor, 2000. "A Prelude to the Welfare State: The Origins of Workers' Compensation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number fish00-1.
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    Cited by:

    1. Henri Fraisse & Francis Kramarz & Corinne Prost, 2015. "Labor Disputes and Job Flows," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 68(5), pages 1043-1077, October.
    2. Fraisse, H. & Kramarz, F. & Prost, C., 2009. "Labor Court Inputs, Judicial Cases Outcomes and Labor Flows: Identifying Real EPL," Working papers 256, Banque de France.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy

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