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Labor Market Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries in the Dawn of the Computer Age

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  • Alan Krueger
  • Douglas Kruse

Abstract

What effect does a severe disability have on individuals' employment and earnings? Has the computer revolution lessened the adverse labor market consequences of severe disabilities? This paper investigates the labor market effects of severe, traumatic disabilities resulting from spinal cord injuries (SCIs). We compare the employment experiences of a sample of individuals with SCIs to those of former co-workers over the same period, and to two random samples of individuals in New Jersey. The analysis is based in large part on a 1994 telephone survey of New Jersey adults who had SCIs within the past ten years. Results indicate that the occurrence of an SCI causes a steep decline in employment, hours worked, and weekly earnings, but relatively little change in wage rates for those who work. The computer revolution has the potential to expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Our results indicate that having computer skills is associated with higher earnings, and a faster return to work and earnings recovery, for SCI individuals, after holding constant other variables such as education. There is no apparent earnings gap between SCI and non-SCI computer users, whereas among those who do not use computers at work the earnings of SCI employees lag behind those of non-SCI employees. Despite the benefits, individuals with SCIs are less likely to use computers than the general population.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Krueger & Douglas Kruse, 1995. "Labor Market Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries in the Dawn of the Computer Age," NBER Working Papers 5302, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5302
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mary C. Daly & John Bound, 1995. "Worker Adaptation and Employer Accommodation Following the Onset of a Health Impairment," NBER Working Papers 5169, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    8. Freeman, Richard B & Kleiner, Morris M, 1990. "The Impact of New Unionization on Wages and Working Conditions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages 8-25, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sarah Crichton & Steven Stillman & Dean Hyslop, 2011. "Returning to Work from Injury: Longitudinal Evidence on Employment and Earnings," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 64(4), pages 765-785, July.
    2. Robert T. Reville & Robert F. Schoeni, 2001. "Disability from Injuries at Work The Effects on Earnings and Employment," Working Papers DRU-2554, RAND Corporation.
    3. 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.
    4. Furnée, Carina & Kemler, Marius & Pfann, Gerard A., 2001. "The Value of Pain Relief," IZA Discussion Papers 312, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Rowell, David & Connelly, Luke, 2010. "Labour market outcomes for people with a spinal cord injury," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 223-232, July.
    6. Kerwin Kofi Charles, 2003. "The Longitudinal Structure of Earnings Losses among Work-Limited Disabled Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(3).
    7. Mason Ameri & Lisa Schur & Meera Adya & Scott Bentley & Patrick McKay & Douglas Kruse, 2015. "The Disability Employment Puzzle: A Field Experiment on Employer Hiring Behavior," NBER Working Papers 21560, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy

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