Michael Dworsky

Photo of Michael Dworsky
Senior Economist; Faculty, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in economics, Stanford University; B.A. in economics, philosophy, Williams College

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Michael (Misha) Dworsky is a senior economist at the RAND Corporation. His research interests are in health economics, labor economics, public finance, and the economics of insurance. His work at RAND focuses on workers’ compensation, health insurance, disability, and health care utilization. Much of his work applies quasi-experimental research designs to large administrative datasets.

Dworsky has led numerous empirical studies on workers’ compensation claims and earnings losses due to workplace injury in the State of California. Recent or ongoing studies in this line of work have addressed topics such as COVID-19, post-traumatic stress disorder in public safety workers, and the long-term economic consequences of workplace injury. Dworsky also studies a range of topics in health economics, including the effect of minimum wage increases on employer-sponsored insurance and impacts of the Affordable Care Act on hospital utilization.

His current work involves using all-payer claims databases to study disability onset and transitions from employer-sponsored insurance to Medicare among non-elderly adults, and he is contributing to RAND's evaluation of the Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model Test in Medicare Advantage. He also is leading a study on tradeoffs between equity and efficiency when using rich consumer data in insurance pricing. His research has been published in the American Economic Review, American Journal of Health Economics, Journal of Public Economics, and Health Services Research, among other outlets. Dworsky received his Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 2013.

Recent Projects

  • COVID-19 in the California Workers' Compensation System
  • Posttraumatic Stress in California's Workers' Compensation System
  • Does Opioid Receipt After Traumatic Injury Affect the Probability of Transition to SSDI? Evidence from the Colorado All-Payer Claims Database
  • Monitoring Wage Losses in the California Workers’ Compensation System
  • The History, Promise and Challenges of State All Payer Claims Databases

Selected Publications

Marika Cabral, Can Cui, Michael Dworsky , "The Demand for Insurance and Rationale for a Mandate: Evidence from Workers' Compensation Insurance," American Economic Review, 112(5), 2022

Michael S. Dworsky, Christine Eibner, Xiaoyu Nie, and Jeffrey B. Wenger, "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employer-Sponsored Insurance for Low-Income Workers and Dependents," American Journal of Health Economics, 8(1), 2022

Nicholas Broten, Michael Dworsky, David Powell, "Do temporary workers experience additional employment and earnings risk after workplace injuries?" Journal of Public Economics, 209, 2022

Michael Dworsky, Nicholas Broten, How Can Workers' Compensation Systems Promote Occupational Safety and Health? Stakeholder Views on Policy and Research Priorities, RAND Corporation (RR-2566), 2018

Quigley, Denise D., Michael Dworsky, Nabeel Qureshi, Shannon Prier, and Courtney A. Gidengil, COVID-19 in the California Workers' Compensation System: A Study of COVID-19 Claims and Presumptions Under Senate Bill 1159, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation (RR-A1430-1), 2021

Dworsky, Michael, Stephanie Rennane, and Nicholas Broten, Earnings Losses and Benefit Adequacy in California's Workers' Compensation System: Estimates for 2005–2017 Injury Dates, RAND Corporation (RR-A964-1), 2022

Gary Pickens, Zeynal Karaca, Eli Cutler, Michael Dworsky, Christine Eibner, Brian Moore, Teresa Gibson, Sharat Iyer, Herbert S. Wong, "Changes in Hospital Inpatient Utilization Following the Affordable Care Act Medicaid Coverage Expansion," Health Services Research, 53(4), 2018

Teryl Nuckols, Craig Conlon, Michael Robbins, Michael Dworsky, Julie Lai, Carol P. Roth, Barbara Levitan, Seth Seabury, Rachana Seelam, and Steven M. Asch, "Quality of Care for Work-Associated Carpal Tunnel Syndrome," Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 59(1), 2017


  • People rally at the Poor People's Campaign Moral Monday demonstration near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., August 2, 2021, photo by Bryan Olin Dozier/Reuters

    Is the Fight for $15 Going to Cost Low-Wage Workers Their Health Insurance?

    Minimum wage increases can lead to reductions in employer-sponsored health insurance for some workers and their dependents. If policymakers want to raise the minimum wage, they should look beyond standard labor market outcomes and take into account other potential effects.

    Oct 11, 2021 Newsweek

  • Woman in a face mask having her temperature scanned, photo by whyframestudio/Getty Images

    Can Workers' Compensation Help Businesses Reopen More Safely?

    Workers' compensation typically does not cover common infectious diseases like COVID-19. But in the fight against the pandemic, state policymakers might take a fresh look at aspects of labor and business regulation that usually fade into the background and ask if modest changes hold any potential to reduce disease transmission.

    Sep 9, 2020 The RAND Blog

  • Construction workers have their temperatures checked on a job site, photo by Maha Heang 245789/Adobe Stock

    Should COVID-19 Be Covered By Workers' Compensation? Some Considerations

    Expanding workers' compensation coverage for COVID-19 could be part of a broader response to ensuring an efficient economic recovery from the pandemic. What are the potential benefits and drawbacks?

    Aug 31, 2020 The RAND Blog

  • Patient filling out forms in a doctor's office

    Can a Continuous Coverage Requirement Produce a Healthy Insurance Market?

    A continuous coverage requirement is intended to discourage individuals from waiting until they become sick to purchase insurance. Such a requirement works well in theory to maintain a healthy marketplace, but there is little evidence on how well it might work in practice.

    Jan 4, 2017 The Hill

  • The Tribute in Light is illuminated on the skyline of New York's Lower Manhattan as people look across the Hudson River in Jersey City, September 11, 2013

    3 Terrorism Risk Insurance Act Facts for Congress to Consider

    With the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act set to expire this year, Congress is currently revisiting a crucial question: What is the appropriate government role in terrorism insurance markets? As the debate unfolds on Capitol Hill, policymakers should consider three key research findings.

    Jun 12, 2014 U.S. News & World Report