Welcome to John Burton’s Workers’ Compensation Resources. We offer access to data, research, and other information pertaining to workers’ compensation in the United States and other countries when possible. Visit the following areas of our site for more information:

Site Updated April 19, 2021


Workers’ First Watch, a publication of the Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG) issued  a Special Report on COVID-19 and Workers’ Compensation on February 8, 2021 that consists of two articles:

“COVID-19 as an Occupational Disease: The Challenge for Workers’ Compensation” by John F. Burton Jr. Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University and Cornell University.

“The Functional Operation of Workers’ Compensation COVID-19 Presumptions” by Michael C. Duff, Distinguished Professor of Law in the University of Wyoming College of Law.

The Special Report can be downloaded from WILG without charge here.

Economics of Safety

By John F. Burton Jr.


Published in the International Encyclopedia of Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd Edition. The chapter examines the economics of safety using five theories (neoclassical theory, modified neoclassical theory, the old institutional theory, the new institutional theory , and the government mandate theory).  The theories are evaluated by examining the empirical evidence on the workplace safety effects of tort suits, workers’ compensation, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The Chapter can be downloaded here.


Debate on Workers’ Compensation

By John F. Burton Jr. and Stephen J. Adler

Fall 2017

There are three components to this entry.  The Table of Contents of Volume 39, Number 1 (fall 2017) of the Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal can be downloaded here: Front391. Two articles are available on the website with permission of Matthew W. Finkin, General Editor of the Journal.  The article by John F. Burton Jr., “Is the Work-Related Test Desirable for All Diseases that Disable Workers?” can be downloaded here: 247-272.  The article by Stephen J. Adler, “Should the Proposed WDPA Replace Work-Related Tests for Occupational Diseases?” can be downloaded here: 273-284.

Workers’ Compensation: Overview and Issues

By Scott D. Szymendera

February 2020 (Updated Version)

Scott is an Analyst in Disability Policy at the Congressional Research Service.  A report prepared for members and committee of Congress by the Congressional Research Service.  An excellent brief (26 pages) introduction to workers’ compensation.  The report can be downloaded from https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R44580.pdf

The Impact of Investment Income on Workers’ Compensation Underwriting Results

By Aaron Brandenburg, Amy Fitzpatrick, David Keleher, and John F. Burton Jr. 

October 2017

Published by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in October 2017.  The NAIC has taken over the publication of the series of reports on underwriting results previously written by John Burton and published in the Workers’ Compensation Resources Research Report.  The NAIC study indicates the importance of  investment income on understanding the profitability of the workers’ compensation insurance industry.  The NAIC data are available both for the national (countrywide) level and for individual states.  The report can be downloaded from the NAIC website

Employment Law: Cases and Materials (Sixth Edition)

By Steven L. Willborn, Stewart J. Schwab, John F. Burton Jr., and Gillian L.L. Lester

September 2017

A case book used in law schools and programs in labor relations or human resource management.  Part VIII deals with Workplace Injuries and Diseases, and includes chapters on Workers’ Compensation, The Occupational Safety and Health Act, and Rethinking the Approaches to Workplace Safety and Health. The casebook is published by the Carolina Academic Press (CAP).  Here is a link to the CAP webpage with a description of the publication.  Here is a link that can be used by a Professor teaching a course on employment law who would like to receive a complimentary copy of the publication:  http://www.cap-press.com/compform.php?booknum=8194  In addition, here is a link for the scholar or practitioner who would like to order the publication with a 10% discount. http://www.cap-press.com/cart.php?add=8194

Improving the Interaction Between the SSDI and Workers’ Compensation Programs

By John F. Burton Jr. and Xuguang (Steve) Guo

April 2016

The study is a chapter in SSDI Solutions: Ideas to Strengthen the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, which was published by Infinity Publishing with support from The McCrery-Pomeroy SSDI Solutions Initiative, a Project of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.  Each of the 16 chapters in the book (including the study by Burton and Guo) can be downloaded without charge from www.ssdisolutions.org.

The Lack of Correspondence Between Work-Related Disability and Receipt of Workers’ Compensation Benefits 
Emily A. Spieler and John F. Burton, Jr. American Journal of Industrial Medicine; Vol. 55 (2012): pp. 487-505
Data from surveys of persons with disabilities were used to estimate the proportion of disability due to work-related injuries and diseases.  Studies examining the proportion of workers with work-related disabilities who received workers’ compensation benefits were reviewed. Many persons with disabilities caused by work do not receive workers’ compensation benefits. Legal restrictions and other factors explaining the lack of receipt of workers’ compensation benefits were examined. The solution to this problem, such as providing healthcare to workers regardless of the source of injuries and diseases, are complicated and controversial, and will be difficult to implement. Download this article here.

The Growth in Applications for Social Security Disability Insurance: A Spillover Effect from Workers’ Compensation
Xuguang (Steve) Guo and John F. Burton, Jr. Social Security Bulletin; Vol. 72, No. 3 (2012): pp. 69-88.
The determinants of applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) were examined. The data were observations for each state (approximately 45 jurisdictions, depending on the year) for each year between 1981 and 1999. The study first reproduced findings of previous studies of the determinants of DI applications.  The study then tested for the additional influence of changes in workers’ compensation benefits and eligibility rules on DI application rates.  The findings indicate that the programs are interrelated. When benefits declined and eligibility rules tightened in workers’ compensation programs in many states in the 1990s, the DI application rates in those states increased. Download this article here.


National Commission on State Workmen’s Compensation Laws:  The National Commission on State Workmen’s Compensation Law submitted its report to the President and Congress in July 1972. Long out of print, The Report of the National Commission on State Workmen’s Compensation Laws can be downloaded here.  Articles in the 1972 National Commission by John Burton, Chairman of the Commission, and Peter Barth, Executive Director of the Commission, were contained in the July/August 2004 issue of The Workers’ Compensation Policy Review. Click here for a copy.