The Decline in the Employment Rate for People with Disabilities: Bad Data, Bad Health, or Bad Policy?

Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 185-201, 2004

Posted: 28 Mar 2006

See all articles by Richard V. Burkhauser

Richard V. Burkhauser

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

David C. Stapleton

Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Abstract

A major debate has begun over reports of an unprecedented decline in the employment of working age people with disabilities over the 1990s business cycle. Here we review the literature on what can and cannot be said with current data on this subject and conclude that this decline is not an artifact of the data. We then review the various explanations and evidence for this decline and conclude that it was caused by changes in social policy rather than increases in the severity of the underlying health conditions and impairments of this population. The implication is that significant changes in public policy are needed to more effectively integrate working age people with disabilities into employment. We identify and discuss the most promising directions for public policy in this area.

Suggested Citation

Burkhauser, Richard V. and Stapleton, David C., The Decline in the Employment Rate for People with Disabilities: Bad Data, Bad Health, or Bad Policy?. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 185-201, 2004, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=892421

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

David C. Stapleton

Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. ( email )

1100 1st St NE
12th Floor
Washington, DC 20002-4221
United States
202-484-9220 (Phone)

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