Permanent Injury and the Disability-Mitigating Effects of Education

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Bruce Cater ; Sohee Kang ; Byron Lew ; Marco Pollanen (2013)
  • Journal: Economics Bulletin, volume 33, issue 3, pages 2,064-2,079
  • Subject: Permanent Impairment, Disability, Employment, Adaptation
    • jel: jel:I0 | jel:J0

Using data from Ontario, we study the extent to which education mitigates the realized work-disabling effects of permanent occupational injury. Focusing first on the rates of post-injury employment, our results suggest that education has a strong disability-mitigating effect in cases of knee and shoulder injuries, but a smaller effect where workers have experienced permanent back or wrist/finger injuries. A comparison of pre- and post-injury occupations then reveals that education mitigates disability not so much by facilitating job shifting, but rather by enabling the individual to return to the pre-injury occupation. These latter results suggest that education may mitigate disability somewhat indirectly by facilitating the accumulation of occupation-specific human capital that, in turn, compensates for the effects of physical impairment.
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