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Do Swedish schools discriminate against children with disabilities?


  • Ahmed, Ali
  • Hammarstedt, Mats
  • Karlsson, Karl


We present results from a field experiment in which fictitious parents to children with certain types of disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), make inquires to Swedish schools about admission for their children to the compulsory preschool class. Our results reveal that Swedish schools discriminated against children with these disabilities and that discrimination is most prevalent in private schools. Private schools discriminated against boys with ADHD and T1DM and against girls with ADHD. Furthermore, public schools discriminated against girls with ADHD. One potential effect of our results is that children with disabilities are referred to less attractive schools than children with no such medical conditions. These results may have implications for the possibilities for individuals with ADHD and T1DM to succeed in the labor market in the long run.

Suggested Citation

  • Ahmed, Ali & Hammarstedt, Mats & Karlsson, Karl, 2020. "Do Swedish schools discriminate against children with disabilities?," GLO Discussion Paper Series 529, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:529

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Luca Fumarco, 2017. "Disability Discrimination in the Italian Rental Housing Market: A Field Experiment with Blind Tenants," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 93(4), pages 567-584.
    5. Jens Dietrichson & Ida Lykke Kristiansen & Bjørn A. Viinholt, 2020. "Universal Preschool Programs And Long‐Term Child Outcomes: A Systematic Review," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(5), pages 1007-1043, December.
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    7. Anders Böhlmark & Helena Holmlund & Mikael Lindahl, 2016. "Parental choice, neighbourhood segregation or cream skimming? An analysis of school segregation after a generalized choice reform," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(4), pages 1155-1190, October.
    8. Melanie K. Jones, 2008. "Disability and the labour market: a review of the empirical evidence," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, vol. 35(5), pages 405-424, September.
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    More about this item


    Schools; Disabilities; Discrimination;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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