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Curing the Dutch Disease: Lessons for United States Disability Policy

  • Richard V. Burkhauser

    (Cornell University)

  • Mary C. Daly

    (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco)

  • Philip R. de Jong

    (APE, Inc.)

In the 1990s, the United States reformed welfare programs targeted on single mothers and dramatically reduced their benefit receipt while increasing their employment and economic wellbeing. Despite increasing calls to do the same for working age people with disabilities in the U.S., disability cash transfer program rolls continue to grow as their employment rates fall and their economic well-being stagnates. In contrast to the failure to reform United States disability policy, the Netherlands, once considered to have the most out of control disability program among OECD nations, initiated reforms in 2002 that have dramatically reduced their disability cash transfer rolls, while maintaining a strong but less generous social minimum safety net for all those who do not work. Here we review disability program growth in the United States and the Netherlands, link it to changes in their disability policies and show that while difficult to achieve, fundamental disability reform is possible. We argue that shifts in SSI policies that focus on better integrating working age men and women with disabilities into the work force along the lines of those implemented for single mothers in the 1990s, together with SSDI program changes that better integrate private and public disability insurance programs along the lines of the reforms in the Netherlands, offer the best hope of improving their employment rates and economic well-being as well as reducing SSDI/SSI program growth.

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File URL: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/Papers/pdf/wp188.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp188.

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Length: 70 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp188
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  1. 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.
  2. Peter P. Budetti & Richard V. Burkhauser & Janice M. Gregory & H. Allan Hunt (ed.), 2001. "Ensuring Health and Income Security for an Aging Workforce," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number ehis, November.
  3. 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.
  4. John Bound & Richard Burkhauser & Austin Nichols, 2001. "Tracking the Household Income of SSDI and SSI Applicants," Working Papers wp009, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  5. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua D. Angrist, 2001. "Consequences of Employment Protection? The Case of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 915-957, October.
  6. Jeff Larrimore & Richard V. Burkhauser & Shuaizhang Feng & Laura Zayatz, 2008. "Consistent Cell Means for Topcoded Incomes in the Public Use March CPS (1976-2007)," NBER Working Papers 13941, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Richard V. Burkhauser & Takashi Oshio & Ludmila Rovba, 2007. "How the Distribution of After-Tax Income Changed over the 1990s Business Cycle: A Comparison of the United States, Great Britain, Germany and Japan," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 35, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  8. repec:crr:crrwps:2002-07 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Julie L. Hotchkiss, 2003. "The Labor Market Experience of Workers with Disabilities: The ADA and Beyond," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number lmewd, November.
  10. 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).
  11. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan, 2006. "The Growth in the Social Security Disability Rolls: A Fiscal Crisis Unfolding," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 71-96, Summer.
  12. Bound, John & Burkhauser, Richard V., 1999. "Economic analysis of transfer programs targeted on people with disabilities," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 51, pages 3417-3528 Elsevier.
  13. Mary Daly & Richard V. Burkhauser, 2003. "The Supplemental Security Income Program," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 79-140 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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