Economic consequences of workplace injuries in the United States: Findings from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79)

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BackgroundThis study explored economic consequences of work-related injuries using a longitudinal data source.MethodsData were from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 cohort (n = 12,686). Short-term consequences were measured when the injury was reported. “Difference-in-differences” approach was applied to estimate income and wealth disparities between injured and non-injured workers before and after injury. Fixed effects models were used to identify variations over time.ResultsThe annual earnings growth was $3,715 (in 2000 dollars) less for workers with DAFW injury and $1,152 less for workers with NDAFW injury compared to non-injured workers during a 10-year follow-up. Lost wages and disability following injury contributed to income loss for injured workers, but the loss was moderated by union membership. After controlling for confounders, income disparities persisted, but family wealth differences did not.ConclusionsOccupational injuries exacerbate income inequality. Efforts to reduce such disparities should include workplace safety and health enforcement. Am. J. Ind. Med. 59:106–118, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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