IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Workers' Compensation, Wages, and the Risk of Injury


  • Ronald G. Ehrenberg


This paper provides an analysis and summary of the effects of the Workers' Compensation (WC) system on wages and work injury experience. It stresses how lessons learned from other forms of social insurance can be applied to research on WC. I begin with a brief overview of the characteristics of the WC system. Next, some simple labor market models are sketched that provide implications about how the system might affect employee compensation and the frequency and duration of both work injuries and reported WC claims.The bilk of the paper critically analyzes the relevant empirical literature, summarizing what we have learned from it and suggesting future research directions.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1985. "Workers' Compensation, Wages, and the Risk of Injury," NBER Working Papers 1538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1538
    Note: LS

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Haveman, Robert H. & Wolfe, Barbara L., 1984. "Disability transfers and early retirement: a casual relationship?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 47-66, June.
    2. Parsons, Donald O, 1980. "The Decline in Male Labor Force Participation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 117-134, February.
    3. Duncan, Greg J & Holmlund, Bertil, 1983. "Was Adam Smith Right after All? Another Test of the Theory of Compensating Wage Differentials," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(4), pages 366-379, October.
    4. Duncan, Greg J & Stafford, Frank P, 1980. "Do Union Members Receive Compensating Wage Differentials?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 355-371, June.
    5. Stuart Dorsey & Norman Walzer, 1983. "Workers' Compensation, Job Hazards, and Wages," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 36(4), pages 642-654, July.
    6. Craig A. Olson, 1981. "An Analysis of Wage Differentials Received by Workers on Dangerous Jobs," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 16(2), pages 167-185.
    7. Ehrenberg, Ronald G & Schumann, Paul L, 1984. "Compensating Wage Differentials for Mandatory Overtime?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(4), pages 460-478, October.
    8. Christopher J. Flinn & James J. Heckman, 1982. "Models for the Analysis of Labor Force Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 0857, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. James R. Chelius, 1982. "The Influence of Workers' Compensation on Safety Incentives," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 35(2), pages 235-242, January.
    10. Butler, Richard J & Worrall, John D, 1983. "Workers' Compensation: Benefit and Injury Claims Rates in the Seventies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 580-589, November.
    11. Fenn, Paul T, 1981. "Sickness Duration, Residual Disability, and Income Replacement: An Empirical Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(361), pages 158-173, March.
    12. Parsons, Donald O, 1984. "Disability Insurance and Male Labor Force Participation: A Response," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 542-549, June.
    13. Haveman, Robert H & Wolfe, Barbara L, 1984. "The Decline in Male Labor Force Participation: Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 532-541, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. 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 228-240, May.
    2. 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.
    3. Fortin, Bernard, 1997. "Dépendance à l’égard de l’aide sociale et réforme de la sécurité du revenu," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 73(4), pages 557-573, décembre.
    4. Alison Morantz, 2010. "Opting Out of Workers' Compensation in Texas: A Survey of Large, Multistate Nonsubscribers," NBER Chapters,in: Regulation vs. Litigation: Perspectives from Economics and Law, pages 197-238 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Fortin, Bernard & Lanoie, Paul, 1998. "Effects of Workers' Compensation: A Survey," Cahiers de recherche 9816, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
    6. Alan B. Krueger, 1990. "Workers' Compensation Insurance and the Duration of Workplace Injuries," NBER Working Papers 3253, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Bruce D. Meyer, 1989. "A Quasi-Experimental Approach to the Effects of Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 3159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Masaru Sasaki, 2010. "Unemployment and Workplace Safety in a Search and Matching Model," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 10-14, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
    9. Krueger, Alan B., 1990. "Incentive effects of workers' compensation insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 73-99, February.
    10. Luiz Alberto Esteves, 2007. "Salários e Risco de Acidentes de Trabalho: Evidências de Diferenciais Compensatórios para a Indústria Manufatureira," Working Papers 0061, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Department of Economics.
    11. Patricia M. Anderson & Bruce D. Meyer, 1994. "Unemployment Insurance Benefits and Takeup Rates," NBER Working Papers 4787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1538. 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: (). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.