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Project Number: p05-08c

Multiple Jeopardies, Discrimination, and the Labor Market: The Conjoint Role of Disability, Race, Gender, and Age

Principal Investigators: Edward Yelin and Laura Trupin

Project Type: Core Research

Project Year: 05

Thematic Category: Economic Aspects of Disability

Project Summary:

Recent research on employment outcomes suggests that disability in combination with other characteristics that may jeopardize labor market success—race, gender, or age—has a much more powerful effect on employment than any one of these characteristics alone. The proposed project will expand this line of inquiry in several ways, with a special emphasis on the extent to which the labor market success of persons with disabilities reflects objective measures, such as extent of training and experience, or subjective measures, such as the experience of discrimination in hiring, promotion, or job loss.

The specific goals and rationales for the project are as follows:

1) To compare race, gender, and age differences in employment rates for persons with and without disabilities, formally testing for interactions between disability and these demographic characteristics. This analysis will ascertain whether a disproportionate amount of the gap in employment occurs among those with other characteristics known to affect labor market success.

2) To evaluate the combined impact of disability status and demographic characteristics on job security measures such as job displacement; part-time, and episodic employment; low wage employment; jobs without upward mobility; and synthetic measures that incorporate several of these measures simultaneously. The purpose of this analysis is to assess the extent to which the patterns in the terms and quality of employment are consistent with those found for basic employment status.

3) To examine the relationship among poor health (in contrast to disability) and race, gender, and age in determining employment status. The goal is to determine whether the effect of health is similar to that of disability in determining employment outcomes.

4) To assess the extent to which differences between persons with and without disabilities in basic employment status and in the terms and quality of employment are associated with objective differences in human capital or with the reported experience of discrimination and, if the latter, the extent to which discrimination on the basis of disability, age, race, gender, or a combination accounts for the effect of discrimination. The aim is to ascertain the extent to which efforts to improve the employment status of persons with disabilities should focus on the fit among their skills, experience, and the demands of contemporary jobs or on discrimination against those with disabilities If the latter, to what extent should enforcement be based on single characteristics, such as the disability status, or on combinations of disability, race, age, gender, and race?

The proposed project will use the 1999 and 2000 waves of The California Work and Health Survey (CWHS). The project builds upon research by the investigators and others indicating that disability and health status account for a disproportionate amount of the gap in employment experienced by women, members of racial or ethnic minorities, and older workers. However, it expands that research beyond a simple comparison of labor force participation rates of persons with and without activity limitations by incorporating an analysis of demographic differences in the terms and quality of employment and in synthetic measures that integrate employment status with the quality of employment, by exploring the role that different forms of disability and compromised health play in employment dynamics, and by ascertaining the role that discrimination on the basis of single or multiple characteristics plays in the employment of persons with disabilities.

Project Deliverables:

Final Report (Word file Word file - 100k)

Final Report Tables (Word file Excel file - 143k)