Labor Market Outcomes for Persons with Long Term Disabilities and College Educations
This study focuses on the labor market consequences of long term disability status for persons who have had the opportunity to receive a university education and rehabilitation services. The sample matches persons with functional limitations with a similar sample of university graduates without these limitations. In this paper, we focus on the salary outcomes for these two groups. We also report results for specific functional limitations. Our results concerning the relationship between the labor market experiences of college educated persons with and without disabilities are mixed. The advantage of a college education and advanced degrees allows persons with long term disabilities to compete quite well in the job market. The salary differentials that we estimate for this sample of long term disabled persons are quite small compared to the gaps typically estimated for disabled persons. A disturbing aspect of our results is that there appears to be a residual of the difference in salaries across persons with disabilities that is correlated with the negative opinions held by the general population about persons with these disabilities. Without direct measures of productivity it is not possible to dismiss the hypothesis that these opinions are correlated with unmeasured productivity. However, the introduction of a measure of health that should be correlated with productivity serves to increase rather than decrease the point estimates of the role of attitudes on wages. We therefore cannot dismiss the possibility that wage discrimination remains for even highly qualified persons with long term disabilities.
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