IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Worker's compensation and state employment growth

  • Kelly Edmiston

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. Given the nearly universal assertion by promoters of workers’ compensation reforms that high cost states lose jobs to relatively low cost states, one would expect that substantial research exists to back up the claims. In fact, however, although a voluminous literature exists that explores behavioral aspects of workers’ compensation insurance, including effects on injury rates, number of claims, and duration of claims, there has been no systematic study of the relationship between workers’ compensation costs and economic growth. This paper sets out to help fill the intellectual void by examining the relationship between workers’ compensation costs and employment growth across U.S. states from 1976 – 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 costs are not a likely cause of jobs woes in most states.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in its series Community Affairs Research Working Paper with number 2005-04.

in new window

Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkcw:2005-04
Contact details of provider: Postal: 1 Memorial Drive, Kansas City, MO 64198-0001
Phone: (816) 881-2254
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Frank Neuhauser & Steven Raphael, 2004. "The Effect of an Increase in Worker's Compensation Benefits on the Duration and Frequency of Benefit Receipt," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 288-302, February.
  2. Alan B. Krueger, 1989. "Incentive Effects of Workers' Compensation Insurance," NBER Working Papers 3089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Nickell, Stephen, 1998. "Unemployment: Questions and Some Answers," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 802-16, May.
  4. Hall, Robert E & Lilien, David M, 1979. "Efficient Wage Bargains under Uncertain Supply and Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(5), pages 868-79, December.
  5. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Bruce D. Meyer, 1989. "A Quasi-Experimental Approach to the Effects of Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 3159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Alan B. Krueger & Bruce D. Meyer, 2002. "Labor Supply Effects of Social Insurance," NBER Working Papers 9014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Orley Ashenfelter & James N. Brown, 1985. "Testing the Efficiency of Employment Contracts," Working Papers 573, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  9. Katz, Lawrence F. & Meyer, Bruce D., 1990. "The impact of the potential duration of unemployment benefits on the duration of unemployment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 45-72, February.
  10. 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.
  11. Jonathan Gruber & Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "The Incidence of Mandated Employer-Provided Insurance: Lessons from Workers' Compensation Insurance," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 5, pages 111-144 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Gruber, Jonathan, 1994. "The Incidence of Mandated Maternity Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 622-41, June.
  13. Timothy G. Schiller & Michael E. Trebing, 2003. "Taking the measure of manufacturing," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Q4, pages 24-37.
  14. Price V. Fishback & Shawn Everett Kantor, 1994. "Did Workers Pay for the Passage of Workers' Compensation Laws?," NBER Working Papers 4947, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Bruce Meyer, 2002. "Unemployment and workers' compensation programmes: rationale, design, labour supply and income support ," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 23(1), pages 1-49, March.
  16. Michael J. Moore & W. Kip Viscusi, 1989. "Promoting Safety through Workers' Compensation: The Efficacy and Net Wage Costs of Injury Insurance," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(4), pages 499-515, Winter.
  17. Bruce D. Meyer & W. Kip Viscusi & David L. Durbin, 1990. "Workers' Compensation and Injury Duration: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 3494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Brown, Charles, 1988. "Minimum Wage Laws: Are They Overrated?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 133-45, Summer.
  19. Audrey Light & Yoshiaki Omori, 2004. "Unemployment Insurance and Job Quits," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 159-188, January.
  20. Card, David & Levine, Phillip B., 2000. "Extended benefits and the duration of UI spells: evidence from the New Jersey extended benefit program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 107-138, October.
  21. Summers, Lawrence H, 1989. "Some Simple Economics of Mandated Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 177-83, May.
  22. Krueger, Alan B & Burton, John F, Jr, 1990. "The Employers' Costs of Workers' Compensation Insurance: Magnitudes, Determinants, and Public Policy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 228-40, May.
  23. Robert Kaestner, 1996. "The effect of government-mandated benefits on youth unemployment," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(1), pages 122-142, October.
  24. Fortin, Bernard & Lanoie, Paul & Laporte, Christine, 1999. "Is Workers' Compensation a Substitute for Unemployment Insurance?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 165-88, August.
  25. Viscusi, W Kip & Moore, Michael J, 1987. "Workers' Compensation: Wage Effects, Benefit Inadequacies, and the Value of Health Losses," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(2), pages 249-61, May.
  26. Lou Pantuosco & Darrell Parker & Gary Stone, 2001. "The Effect of Unions on Labor Markets and Economic Growth: An Analysis of State Data," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 22(1), pages 195-205, January.
  27. Moffitt, Robert, 1985. "Unemployment insurance and the distribution of unemployment spells," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 85-101, April.
  28. Fortin, Bernard & Lanoie, Paul, 1992. "Substitution between unemployment insurance and workers' compensation : An analysis applied to the risk of workplace accidents," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 287-312, December.
  29. Anderson, Patricia M. & Meyer, Bruce D., 2000. "The effects of the unemployment insurance payroll tax on wages, employment, claims and denials," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 81-106, October.
  30. Leslie I. Boden & John W. Ruser, 2003. "Workers' Compensation "Reforms," Choice of Medical Care Provider, and Reported Workplace Injuries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 923-929, November.
  31. Robert L. Ohsfeldt & Michael A. Morrisey, 1997. "Beer Taxes, Workers' Compensation, And Industrial Injury," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(1), pages 155-160, February.
  32. Atkinson, Anthony B & Micklewright, John, 1991. "Unemployment Compensation and Labor Market Transitions: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1679-1727, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedkcw:2005-04. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lu Dayrit)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.