Competitive federalism and workers’ compensation: do states race to the bottom?

Robyn Hollander, Louise Thornthwaite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This article builds on the competitive federalism literature by examining the role federalism plays in determining policy trajectories with consequences for public welfare in individual jurisdictions. It examines the argument that federalism encourages a ‘race to the bottom’ using the case of workers’ compensation benefits for injured workers in Australia. It finds state systems have been characterised by a downward slide in the protections afforded injured workers since the late 1970s, and this has been associated with policy makers’ real or rhetorical concerns around interstate competition for business investment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-352
Number of pages17
JournalAustralian Journal of Political Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2018


  • Competitive federalism
  • workers compensation
  • interstate competition
  • business investment


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