Putting People with Disabilities to Work: Models of the Counterfactual

Julia A. Rivera Drew, University of Minnesota

In the United States, people with disabilities experience high levels of poverty and low rates of employment. Major disability-related legislation enacted over the past two decades has been passed, at least in part, to address the poor economic well-being of people with disabilities by improving their rates of employment. Implicit in these policies is the idea that working for pay will improve the economic well-being of people with disabilities. The first goal of the current study is describe the poverty and material hardship faced by people with disabilities, and how these differ by detailed employment status, differentiating between people employed full-time, year round; part-time, year-round; and part-year positions. The second goal of the paper is to explore the counterfactual using simulations. If non-employed people with disabilities were to go to work (as public policy seems to be pushing them to do), how much would their level of economic well-being improve?

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Presented in Session 99: Recent Issues in Educational and Labor Force Discrimination