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Disaggregating Employment Protection: The Case of Disability Discrimination

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  • Christine Jolls
  • J.J. Prescott
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    Abstract

    Studies of the effects of employment protection frequently examine protective legislation as a whole. From a policy reform perspective, however, it is often critical to know which particular aspect of the legislation is responsible for its observed effects. The American with Disabilities Act (ADA), a 1990 federal law covering over 40 million Americans, is a clear case in point. Several empirical studies have suggested that the passage of the ADA reduced rather than increased employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. To the extent this is true, it is crucial to credibly disentangle the different features of this complex and multi-faceted law. Separately evaluating the distinct aspects of the ADA is important not only for determining how the law might best be reformed if some aspects of it produce negative employment effects, but also for improving our understanding of the potential consequences of ADA-like provisions in race and other civil rights laws. This paper exploits state-level variation in pre-ADA legal regimes governing disability discrimination to separately estimate the employment effects of each of the ADA's two primary substantive provisions. We find strong evidence that the immediate post-enactment employment effects of the ADA are attributable to its requirement of "reasonable accommodations" for disabled employees rather than to its potential imposition of firing costs for such employees. Moreover, the pattern of the ADA's effects across states suggests, contrary to widely discussed prior findings based on national-level data, that declining disabled employment after the immediate post-ADA period reflects other factors rather than the ADA itself.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10740.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10740

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    1. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan, 2003. "The Rise In The Disability Rolls And The Decline In Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 157-205, February.
    2. Kreider, Brent & Pepper, John V., 2003. "Disability and Employment: Reevaluating the Evidence in Light of Reporting Errors," Staff General Research Papers 10229, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    3. Heckman, James J & Payner, Brook S, 1989. "Determining the Impact of Federal Antidiscrimination Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks: A Study of South Carolina," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 138-77, March.
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    5. John Bound & Timothy Waidmann, 2000. "Accounting for Recent Declines in Employment Rates among the Working-Aged Disabled," NBER Working Papers 7975, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 1998. "Consequences of Employment Protection? The Case of the Americans with Disabilities Act," NBER Working Papers 6670, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Richard Burkhauser & Mary Daly & Andrew Houtenville & Nigar Nargis, 2002. "Self-reported work-limitation data: What they can and cannot tell US," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(3), pages 541-555, August.
    9. Julie L. Hotchkiss, 2004. "A Closer Look at the Employment Impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(4).
    10. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "Can Labour Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 33, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    11. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
    12. Gruber, Jonathan, 1994. "The Incidence of Mandated Maternity Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 622-41, June.
    13. Lawrence F. Katz, 1996. "Wage Subsidies for the Disadvantaged," NBER Working Papers 5679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Kathleen Beegle & Wendy A. Stock, 2003. "The Labor Market Effects of Disability Discrimination Laws," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(4).
    15. Paul Oyer & Scott Schaefer, 2002. "Litigation Costs and Returns to Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 683-705, June.
    16. Thomas DeLeire, 2000. "The Wage and Employment Effects of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 693-715.
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    Cited by:
    1. Bell, David & Heitmueller, Axel, 2009. "The Disability Discrimination Act in the UK: Helping or hindering employment among the disabled?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 465-480, March.
    2. Brügemann, Björn, 2006. "Employment Protection: Tough to Scrap or Tough to Get?," IZA Discussion Papers 2297, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Chen, Susan & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2008. "The work disincentive effects of the disability insurance program in the 1990s," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 757-784, February.
    4. W. Bentley MacLeod & Voraprapa Nakavachara, 2006. "Legal default rules: The case of wrongful discharge laws," Discussion Papers 0506-19, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
    5. Lalive, Rafael & Wuellrich, Jean-Philippe & Zweimüller, Josef, 2009. "Do Financial Incentives for Firms Promote Employment of Disabled Workers? A Regression Discontinuity Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 7373, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Wuellrich, Jean-Philippe, 2010. "The effects of increasing financial incentives for firms to promote employment of disabled workers," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 173-176, May.
    7. Richard V. Burkhauser & Lauren H. Nicholas & Maximilian D. Schmeiser, 2011. "The Importance of State Anti-Discrimination Laws on Employer Accommodation and the Movement of their Employees onto Social Security Disability Insurance," Working Papers wp251, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    8. repec:iab:iabzaf:v:41:i:1:p:9-24 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Humer, Brigitte & Wuellrich, Jean-Philippe & Zweimüller, Josef, 2007. "Integrating Severely Disabled Individuals into the Labour Market: The Austrian Case," IZA Discussion Papers 2649, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Braakmann, Nils, 2008. "Wirkungen der Beschäftigungspflicht schwerbehinderter Arbeitnehmer : Erkenntnisse aus der Einführung des "Gesetzes zur Bekämpfung der Arbeitslosigkeit Schwerbehinderter" (Effects of the o," Zeitschrift für ArbeitsmarktForschung - Journal for Labour Market Research, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 41(1), pages 9-24.
    11. Vall Castello, Judit, 2012. "Promoting employment of disabled women in Spain; Evaluating a policy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 82-91.
    12. John J. Donohue III, 2005. "The Law and Economics of Antidiscrimination Law," NBER Working Papers 11631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Judit Vall Castello, 2010. "Promoting Employment of Disabled Women in Spain; Evaluating a Policy," Working Papers 2010-10, FEDEA.

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