Long Term Labor Market Performance of Whiplash Claimants

Posted: 23 Jun 2007

See all articles by Søren Leth‐Petersen

Søren Leth‐Petersen

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Gabriel Pons Rotger

Institute of Government Studies

Date Written: June 19, 2007


A whiplash is a sudden acceleration-deceleration of the neck and head that may produce injuries in the soft tissue, i.e. muscles, tendons, ligaments joints or nerves. The typical situation leading to a whiplash injury is a rear-end car collision. In cases with mild to moderate injuries there are no physical damages, and diagnosing lasting WADs is difficult. Because of a unique public assessment system for whiplash cases in Denmark we have access to information about some 1200 persons who claim to have lost some earnings capacity due to chronic whiplash associated disorders as a consequence of accidents occurring in 1996 to 1998. These records are merged at person level to public administrative records with longitudinal information covering 1994-2002 about earnings, the purchase of prescription drugs, use of the public health system, earnings, information about family composition and other demographic characteristics. The same information is obtained for a control group consisting of a 1% random sample from the population. This information allows us to compare the development of earnings of WAD claimants from before the accident and up to five years after the accident with that of non claimants who are otherwise similar. Results indicate that WAD claimants with mild cases return to full earnings levels, while persons with moderate cases do not return to full earnings. This suggests that for milder cases there is no lasting effect of the whiplash on labor market performance whereas for moderate cases there appears to be a lasting effect.

Keywords: Whiplash, Register Data, labor market

JEL Classification: I12, J29

Suggested Citation

Leth-Petersen, Soren and Rotger, Gabriel Pons, Long Term Labor Market Performance of Whiplash Claimants (June 19, 2007). iHEA 2007 6th World Congress: Explorations in Health Economics Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=992684

Soren Leth-Petersen (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Bygning 26
1353 Copenhagen K.

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

United Kingdom

Gabriel Pons Rotger

Institute of Government Studies ( email )

Nyropsgade 32
Copenhagen V, 1602
United States

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