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 an economist at the RAND Corporation. His research interests are in health economics, labor economics, public finance, and the economics of insurance, and 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 studies on disability benefits and earnings losses for injured workers in the State of California, including several recent and ongoing studies on workers’ compensation issues for public safety workers. He is also studying how the lack of a coverage mandate affects the Texas workers' compensation market, how temporary workers fare after workplace injuries, and the long-term effects of workplace injury on workers’ earnings and employment.

Dworsky has also studied a range of topics in health economics, including the effect of minimum wage increases on employer-sponsored insurance. He has also coauthored several studies on the impacts of the Affordable Care Act on hospital utilization and other outcomes. He is currently working with all-payer claims databases from several states to study the causes and consequences of transitions in health care coverage, and is using all-payer claims databases to study disability onset and transitions from employer-sponsored insurance to Medicare among non-elderly adults. He is also contributing to RAND's evaluation of the Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model Test in Medicare Advantage. Dworsky received his Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 2013.

Recent Projects

  • Monitoring Wage Losses in the California Workers’ Compensation System
  • Does Opioid Receipt After Traumatic Injury Affect the Probability of Transition to SSDI? Evidence from the Colorado All-Payer Claims Database
  • Industrial Cancers in California's Workers' Compensation System
  • CMS Value Based Insurance Design (VBID) Evaluation Part 1
  • Benefits and Earnings Losses for Permanently Disabled Workers in California

Selected Publications

Michael Dworsky, Carolyn M. Rutter, Industrial Cancers in California's Workers' Compensation System: Evidence on Earnings Losses and Disability Benefits, RAND Corporation (RR-4320)

Michael Dworsky, Denise D. Quigley, Stephanie Rennane, Madeline B. Doyle, Evaluation of the Return-to-Work Fund in California's Workers' Compensation System: Performance to Date and Options for Modification, RAND Corporation (RR-2548), 2018

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

Michael Dworsky, Carrie M. Farmer, Mimi Shen, Veterans' Health Insurance Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act and Implications of Repeal for the Department of Veterans Affairs, RAND Corporation (RR-1955), 2017

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

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

Michael Dworsky, Christine Eibner, The Effect of the 2014 Medicaid Expansion on Insurance Coverage for Newly Eligible Childless Adults, RAND Corporation (RR-1736-RWJF), 2016

Michael Dworsky, Seth A. Seabury, Frank W. Neuhauser, Ujwal Kharel, Roald Euller, Benefits and Earnings Losses for Permanently Disabled Workers in California: Trends Through the Great Recession and Impacts of Recent Reforms, RAND Corporation (RR-1299), 2016


  • 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