Curing the Dutch Disease: Lessons for United States Disability Policy

70 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2009

See all articles by Richard V. Burkhauser

Richard V. Burkhauser

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis & Management (PAM); University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute

Mary C. Daly

St. John's University - School of Law

Philip R. De Jong

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE)

Date Written: September 2008

Abstract

In the 1990s, the United States reformed welfare programs targeted on single mothers and dramatically reduced their benefit receipt while increasing their employment and economic wellbeing. Despite increasing calls to do the same for working age people with disabilities in the U.S., disability cash transfer program rolls continue to grow as their employment rates fall and their economic well-being stagnates. In contrast to the failure to reform United States disability policy, the Netherlands, once considered to have the most out of control disability program among OECD nations, initiated reforms in 2002 that have dramatically reduced their disability cash transfer rolls, while maintaining a strong but less generous social minimum safety net for all those who do not work.

Here we review disability program growth in the United States and the Netherlands, link it to changes in their disability policies and show that while difficult to achieve, fundamental disability reform is possible. We argue that shifts in SSI policies that focus on better integrating working age men and women with disabilities into the work force along the lines of those implemented for single mothers in the 1990s, together with SSDI program changes that better integrate private and public disability insurance programs along the lines of the reforms in the Netherlands, offer the best hope of improving their employment rates and economic well-being as well as reducing SSDI/SSI program growth.

Suggested Citation

Burkhauser, Richard V. and Daly, Mary Catherine and De Jong, Philip R., Curing the Dutch Disease: Lessons for United States Disability Policy (September 2008). Michigan Retirement Research Center Research Paper No. 2008-188, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1337652 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1337652

Richard V. Burkhauser (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis & Management (PAM) ( email )

120 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
161 Barry Street
Carlton, VIC 3053
Australia

Mary Catherine Daly

St. John's University - School of Law ( email )

8000 Utopia Parkway
Jamaica, NY 11439
United States

Philip R. De Jong

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE) ( email )

Roetersstraat 11
Amsterdam, North Holland 1018 WB
Netherlands

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