Workers Compensation Research Institute
955 Massachusetts Ave.
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|April 2018||Do Opioids Help Injured Workers Recover and Get Back to Work? The Impact of Opioid Prescriptions on Duration of Temporary Disability|
with David Neumark, Randall Lea: w24528
We estimate the effect of opioid prescriptions on the duration of temporary disability benefits among workers with work-related low back injuries. We use local opioid prescribing patterns to construct an instrumental variable that generates variation in opioid prescriptions but is arguably unrelated to injury severity or other factors affecting disability duration. Local prescribing patterns have a strong relationship with whether injured workers receive opioid prescriptions, including longer-term prescriptions. We find that more longer-term opioid prescribing leads to considerably longer duration of temporary disability, but little effect of a small number of opioid prescriptions over a short period of time.
|July 2017||The Effects of Provider Choice Policies on Workers' Compensation Costs|
with David Neumark: w23611
We examine the effects of provider choice policies on workers’ compensation medical and indemnity costs. We find no difference in average medical costs between states where policies give employers control over the choice of provider and states where policies instead give workers the most control. But a richer distributional analysis indicates that developed medical costs for the costliest cases are higher in states where policies give workers more control over provider choice. We find similar evidence for indemnity costs, although the point estimates also indicate (statistically insignificantly) higher average costs where policy gives workers the most control over provider choice. Overall, the evidence suggests little relationship between provider choice policies and average medical or ind...