Work Disability is a Pain in the *****, Especially in England, The Netherlands, and the United States

by James Banks, Arie Kapteyn, James P. Smith, Arthur Van Soest

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This paper investigates the role of pain in determining self-reported work disability in the U.S., the U.K. and The Netherlands. Even if identical questions are asked, cross-country differences in reported work disability remain substantial. In the U.S. and the Netherlands, respondent evaluations of work limitations of hypothetical persons described in pain vignettes are used to identify the extent to which differences in self-reports between countries or socio-economic groups are due to systematic variation in the response scales.

This research was supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging and the Lasker Foundation to the National Bureau for Economic Research, by a grant from the National Institute on Aging to RAND and was performed under the auspices of RAND Labor and Population.

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