Interactions of Public Paratransit and Vocational Rehabilitation
47 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2018 Last revised: 11 Sep 2020
Date Written: August 31, 2020
Federal and state governments spend over $3 billion annually on public-sector Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) programs, yet almost a third of people with disabilities report having inadequate access to the transportation necessary to commute to a job, potentially negating the positive effects of these interventions. We examine this previously understudied connection by assessing the impact access to public paratransit has on measures of VR program effectiveness. To do so, we use the data and estimates from three previously estimated structural models of VR service receipt and labor market outcomes that contain limited information about mobility. We spatially link the generalized residuals from these models to different measures of the availability and efficiency of local paratransit systems to determine whether paratransit explains any of the residual variation in the short- or long-run labor market outcomes of individuals receiving VR services. Results show that access to paratransit is an important determinant of the efficacy of VR services, but that effects are heterogeneous across disability groups. We discuss the policy implications of our findings for VR programs.
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