In contrast to the believed similarity in their health outcomes, workers in different Western countries report very different rates of work disability. Using new data from the United States and the Netherlands, we offer a partial resolution to this paradox. We find that observed differences in reported work disability largely stem from the fact that Dutch respondents have a lower threshold in reporting whether they have a work disability than American respondents. For those who do not suffer from pain, work disability is similar in both countries once thresholds are the same. For respondents with pain, however, a significant difference remains.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.