Minimum Wages and Workplace Injuries

Publication Date


Grant Type

Early Career Research Award


We propose to investigate the effect of minimum wage increases on workplace injuries using a unique injury dataset from the California Division of Workers’ Compensation. These data include the universe of approximately 15 million individual workers’ compensation claims administered by the DWC in California over 2000-2021, including details on the nature and cause of the injury, the date and location of the injury, the firm at which the injury occurred, and the workers’ job, wage, job tenure, age, and sex. This restricted-access administrative dataset is a particularly comprehensive data source on workplace injuries: it covers a broader scope of injuries than most surveys and has less concern about underreporting (since workers have a strong financial incentive to report), and is far broader than data based on law violations, since safety is heavily affected by legal employer production choices. We are using these data in other projects (Park et al 2021, Park and Stansbury 2024). We propose matching these data to establishment-level employment data from Dun and Bradstreet’s NETS database, payroll data from the California Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau, and data on public firms’ operations and financials from Compustat.