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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.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1538.

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Date of creation: Jan 1985
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as New Perspectives in Workers' Compensation, edited by John F. Burton, Jr.,pp. 71-96. New York: ILR Press, 1989.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1538
Note: LS
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  1. 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.
  2. Parsons, Donald O, 1980. "The Decline in Male Labor Force Participation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 117-34, February.
  3. Stuart Dorsey & Norman Walzer, 1983. "Workers' compensation, job hazards, and wages," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 36(4), pages 642-654, July.
  4. Fenn, Paul T, 1981. "Sickness Duration, Residual Disability, and Income Replacement: An Empirical Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 91(361), pages 158-73, March.
  5. 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 366-79, October.
  6. James R. Chelius, 1982. "The influence of workers' compensation on safety incentives," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 35(2), pages 235-242, January.
  7. Duncan, Greg J & Stafford, Frank P, 1980. "Do Union Members Receive Compensating Wage Differentials?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 355-71, June.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Ehrenberg, Ronald G & Schumann, Paul L, 1984. "Compensating Wage Differentials for Mandatory Overtime?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(4), pages 460-78, October.
  11. 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 532-41, June.
  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 542-49, June.
  13. 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 580-89, November.
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