Rising Burdens of Proofs and the Grand Bargain of Workers’ Compensation Laws

40 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2020

See all articles by Andy Yuan

Andy Yuan

University of Arizona - Department of Economics

Price V. Fishback

University of Arizona; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: April 2020

Abstract

Nearly every state has amended workers’ compensation laws in the last two decades and the national averages of cash and medical benefits paid per covered worker have declined. As a result, writers have suggested that the states might be cutting back on workers’ compensation benefits. We show that measures of the statutory benefits have been rising over time, a trend that work against the declining trend in average payouts per covered worker. A decline in accident rates at the national level has contributed to the decline in payouts. We then investigate the impact of specific state laws related to burdens of proof and limits on medical coverage after developing an annual panel data set for all states between 1997 and 2016. The results show that state laws that ban liberal construction of the rules and apportion benefits based on pre-existing conditions contribute to sharp declines in the states where they are enacted.

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Suggested Citation

Yuan, Andy and Fishback, Price V., Rising Burdens of Proofs and the Grand Bargain of Workers’ Compensation Laws (April 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w26980, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3574444

Andy Yuan (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - Department of Economics ( email )

McClelland Hall
Tucson, AZ 85721-0108
United States

Price V. Fishback

University of Arizona ( email )

Tucson, AZ 85721-0108
United States
520-621-4421 (Phone)
520-621-8450 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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