Physical Disability and Labor Market Discrimination: Evidence From a Field Experiment

CRREP Working Paper Series 2017-12

24 Pages Posted: 20 May 2018

See all articles by Charles Bellemare

Charles Bellemare

Université Laval - Département d'Économique; Centre Interuniversitaire sur le Risque, les Politiques Economiques et l'Emploi (CIRPÉE); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Marion Goussé

Université Laval - Département d'Économique

Guy Lacroix

Université Laval - Département d'Économique; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Steeve Marchand

Université Laval

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Date Written: December 01, 2017

Abstract

We investigate the determinants and extent of labor market discrimination toward people with acute physical disabilities (wheelchair users) using data from a large scale field experiment conducted in the province of Quebec (Canada). Applications (cover letters and CVs) were randomly sent to 1477 private firms operating in two urban regions (Montréal and Québec City) advertising open positions requiring various skill levels. The applications were randomly generated to cover a broad spectrum of potential determinants of discrimination (gender, skill level, work history, workplace adjustment costs, etc.). We find that average callback rates of disabled and non-disabled applicants is 14.4% and 31%, respectively, yielding a differential callback rate of 46%. We also investigate whether the differential may result from accessibility constraints related to the physical infrastructures where firms are located (poor and access to an elevator, availability of wheelchair, etc.). The latter are found to have no explanatory power. In addition, applications which explicitly mention that the candidate is eligible to a government subsidy to cover the cost of workplace adaptations and assistive technology do not yield higher callback rates.

Keywords: Discrimination, Disabilities

JEL Classification: J71, J68

Suggested Citation

Bellemare, Charles and Goussé, Marion and Lacroix, Guy and Marchand, Steeve, Physical Disability and Labor Market Discrimination: Evidence From a Field Experiment (December 01, 2017). CRREP Working Paper Series 2017-12, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3175365 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3175365

Charles Bellemare (Contact Author)

Université Laval - Département d'Économique ( email )

2325 Rue de l'Université
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4 G1K 7P4
Canada

Centre Interuniversitaire sur le Risque, les Politiques Economiques et l'Emploi (CIRPÉE)

Pavillon De Sève
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4
Canada

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Marion Goussé

Université Laval - Département d'Économique ( email )

2325 Rue de l'Université
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4 G1K 7P4
Canada

Guy Lacroix

Université Laval - Département d'Économique ( email )

2325 Rue de l'Université
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4 G1K 7P4
Canada
418-656-2024 (Phone)
418-656-7798 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Steeve Marchand

Université Laval ( email )

2214 Pavillon J-A. DeSeve
Quebec, Quebec G1K 7P4
Canada

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