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Incentive Effects of Workers' Compensation Insurance

Alan Krueger

No 3089, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: This paper uses Current Population Survey data on a large sample of workers to estimate the determinants of participation in state workers' compensation programs in the United States. The principal finding is Chat higher workers' compensation benefits are associated with greater participation in the workers' compensation program, after accounting for worker characteristics, state fixed effects, and other aspects of the workers' compensation law. Moreover, this result holds for both manufacturing and non-manufacturing workers. Workers' compensation benefits, however, have an insignificant effect on program participation for the sample of women. Overall, a 10% increase in benefits is associated with a 6.7% increase in program participation. In addition, the results show that the waiting period that is required before benefit payments begin has a substantial negative effect on participation in the workers' compensation program. Finally, the parameters of the cross-sectional model are used to simulate the aggregate workers' compensation incidence rate from 1969 to 1987. The growth in workers' compensation claims in the 1970s appears to correspond reasonably well co the growth in real benefits that occurred during this time period.

Date: 1989-08
Note: LS
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Published as Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 73-99, (1990).

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