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Estimates of Wage Discrimination Against Workers with Sensory Disabilities, with Controls for Job Demands

  • CHOE, Chung
  • BALDWIN, Marjorie

We provide the first-ever estimates of wage discrimination against workers with sensory (hearing, speech, vision) disabilities. Workers with sensory disabilities have lower probabilities of employment and lower wages, on average, than nondisabled workers. Their poor labor market outcomes are explained, at least in part, by the negative productivity effects of sensory limitations in jobs that require good communication skills, but disability-related discrimination may also be a contributing factor. To separate productivity vs. discrimination effects, we decompose the wage differential between workers with and without sensory disabilities into an ‘explained’ part attributed to differences in productivity-related characteristics, and an ‘unexplained’ part attributed to discrimination. The decomposition is based on human capital wage equations with controls for job-specific demands related to sensory abilities, and interactions between job demands and sensory limitations. The interactions are interpreted as measures of the extent to which a worker’s sensory limitations affect important job functions. The results indicate approximately 1/3 (1/10) of the disability-related wage differential for men (women) is attributed to discrimination. The estimates are quite different from estimates of discrimination against workers with physical disabilities obtained by the same methods, underscoring the importance of accounting for heterogeneity of the disabled population in discrimination studies.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 36242.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:36242
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  1. Shoshana Neuman & Ronald Oaxaca, 2004. "Wage Decompositions with Selectivity-Corrected Wage Equations: A Methodological Note," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 2(1), pages 3-10, April.
  2. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
  3. Marjorie L. Baldwin & William G. Johnson, 2000. "Labor Market Discrimination Against Men with Disabilities in the Year of the ADA," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 66(3), pages 548-566, January.
  4. Madden, D., 1999. "Labour Market Discrimination on the Basis of Health: an Application to UK Data," Papers 99/13, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy-.
  5. Reimers, Cordelia W, 1983. "Labor Market Discrimination against Hispanic and Black Men," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 570-79, November.
  6. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  7. Thomas DeLeire, 2000. "The Wage and Employment Effects of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Working Papers 0008, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  8. CHOE, Chung & BALDWIN, Marjorie, 2011. "Estimates of Wage Discrimination Against Workers with Sensory Disabilities, with Controls for Job Demands," MPRA Paper 36242, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Marjorie L. Baldwin & Chung Choe, 2014. "Wage Discrimination Against Workers with Sensory Disabilities," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 101-124, 01.
  10. Kidd, Michael P. & Sloane, Peter J. & Ferko, Ivan, 2000. "Disability and the labour market: an analysis of British males," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 961-981, November.
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