Back pain and work disability: The need for a new paradigm

William Johnson, Marjorie Baldwin, Richard J. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Using a unique data set of workers' compensation claims from Ontario, this study analyzes the determinants of first returns to work and subsequent patterns of employment for a sample of workers with back pain and a comparison group of workers with other injuries. The results suggest that the costly and pervasive problem of work-related back claims could be reduced by abandoning the traditional work injury model in favor of a separate paradigm for back pain that reflects its unique characteristics. A change in economic incentives would increase the probability of return to work for back cases, and an expansion of employer-provided job accommodations would increase the probability of stable employment after the first return.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-34
Number of pages26
JournalIndustrial Relations
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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