This article summarizes the research on labor market discrimination against persons with disabilities and discusses the implications of that research for the probable success of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The research shows that discrimination reduces the wages of men and women with disabilities relative to nondisabied men and women. The size of discriminatory wage differentials varies with the intensity of prejudice toward particular impairments, suggesting that prejudice is an important problem. Employment rates for persons with disabilities are also substantially lower than employment rates for nondisabied persons, but it is unclear to what extent the lower employment rates are attributable to discrimination. The most important provision of the ADA with respect to employment is its requirement for “reasonable accommodation.” The success of the ADA in improving employment rates for disabled persons will be determined by how employers evaluate the costs of accommodating workers with disabilities relative to the costs of noncompliance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)775-788
Number of pages14
JournalPolicy Studies Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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