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We analyze the outcomes of occupational back pain among four large employers that use one or more of the following disability management practices: aggressive return to work, claims management, medical management, or time‐limited job accommodations. Outcomes measured at 6 and 12 months postonset include: duration of initial work absence and the probability of returning to stable employment. Employment outcomes are better in firms with more proactive return‐to‐work policies than in firms with more restrictive policies. We devise a statistical test for attrition bias and conclude that sample attrition does not significantly alter our results.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: . Richard J. Butler works at the Department of Economics, Brigham Young University. Marjorie L. Baldwin works at the School of Health Management and Policy, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University. Pierre Côté works at the Toronto Western Research Institute, Toronto Western Hospital. This research was supported by a grant, with full freedom to publish, from the National Chiropractic Mutual Insurance Company, a national insurer of doctors of chiropractic. Industry and Institutional funds were also received in support of this work; we are especially grateful to the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Affairs, Arizona State University, as well as the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences at Brigham Young University. We thank the referees for their insightful comments and suggestions. The data and SAS programs used to generate these results are available from the corresponding author. This article was subject to double-blind peer review.

Publication date: 2012-03-01

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