New Methods and Data Sources for Measuring Economic Consequences of Workplace Injuries

by Robert T. Reville, Jay Bhattacharya, Lauren R. Sager Weinstein

The evaluation of programs and policies to reduce the incidence of workplace injuries requires that the consequences of those injuries are estimated correctly. Workplace injuries are complex events, and the availability of data that reflects that complexity is the largest obstacle to accurate estimation. In this article, the authors review the literature on the consequences of workplace injuries for both workers and employers. They focus on data sources, particularly linked administrative data from various public agencies. The authors also review other approaches to obtaining data to examine the consequences of workplace injuries, including public-use longitudinal survey data, primary data collection, and linked employee-employer databases. The authors found that longitudinal survey databases, including the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the Health and Retirement Survey, are very promising although largely untapped sources of data on workplace injuries. They also found that linked employee-employer databases are well suited for the study of consequences for employers.

Originally published in: American Journal of Industrial Medicine, v. 40, no. 4. October 2001, pp. 452-463.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.

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.