Public Policies and Vulnerable Populations: In the Growth Years of the 1990s, When the Employment Rates Rose for Most Working-Age Americans, Economic Prosperity Was Not Shared by People with Disabilities. in Fact, People with Disabilities Experienced an Unprecedented Decline in Economic Independence

By Winter, Metta | Human Ecology, June 2004 | Go to article overview

Public Policies and Vulnerable Populations: In the Growth Years of the 1990s, When the Employment Rates Rose for Most Working-Age Americans, Economic Prosperity Was Not Shared by People with Disabilities. in Fact, People with Disabilities Experienced an Unprecedented Decline in Economic Independence


Winter, Metta, Human Ecology


Between 1992 and 2000, the employment rates of men with disabilities fell by 23 percent, and for women with disabilities, they fell by 5 percent. These statistics are based on studies conducted by the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center for Economic Research on Employment Policy for Persons with Disabilities. Economist Richard Burkhauser, the center's co-principal investigator, and Sarah Gibson, Blanding Professor of Policy Analysis at Cornell, explains the data clearly show that current public policies, although well intentioned, are not pro-work policies for people with disabilities.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

As social scientists, Burkhauser and his colleagues in the center are responsible for producing objective information upon which evidence-based policy can be formulated. Burkhauser, who also serves as chair of the Department of Policy Analysis and Management, works with two co-principal investigators--Susanne M. Bruyere, director of the Program on Employment and Disability in the Extension Division of Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and David Stapleton, director of the Cornell University Institute for Policy Research. They invested three years examining existing data sets to ascertain that the downward trend in employment is real and not a statistical artifact.

It was this need to determine the quality of existing data on people with disabilities that spurred Burkhauser, to establish, with Bruyere and Stapleton, the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center when he first came to Cornell six years ago. The center is a collaborative initiative with the Program on Employment and Disability, the Cornell Institute for Policy Research, the Lewin Group, the Urban Institute, and the Department of Policy Analysis and Management in the College of Human Ecology. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

The center's first major findings appear in The Decline in Employment of People with Disabilities: A Policy Puzzle, co-edited by Stapleton and Burkhauser. "This is not simply an academic book for scholars in the field; it is meant to explain in a broad way the policy puzzle of why the employment of people with disabilities has fallen," says Burkhauser.

In the wake of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 and the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, a major shift occurred from welfare to work for single women with children, while the opposite was true for people with disabilities. In a recent paper titled "The Stunning Contrast between the Employment of Single Mothers and People with Disabilities in the 1990s," Burkhauser and Stapleton examine the policies that have brought two unexpected and opposite results.

The transition of single women with children off public assistance and into employment over the last decade has surprised even leading policy researchers, Burkhauser explains. Experts on the federal Aid to Families with Dependent Children Program failed to predict this success. One cause was a coordinated change in incentives, all of which encouraged work--either with the "carrot" of work-based benefits or the "stick" of limits on nonwork benefits. But the success can be credited most especially to the dramatic expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a wage subsidy that makes work pay for individuals with low skills. The EITC is a critical factor in increasing the household income for most single mothers with children and, according to Burkhauser, is a perfect example of a federal government policy that can change people's behavior.

In contrast, social policy consistent with the intellectual underpinnings of the ADA was not put into place. "The ADA recognized that the most promising path to economic independence is through market work and that the social environment is a more powerful factor in determining employment outcomes than is an individual's impairment," Burkhauser says.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Public Policies and Vulnerable Populations: In the Growth Years of the 1990s, When the Employment Rates Rose for Most Working-Age Americans, Economic Prosperity Was Not Shared by People with Disabilities. in Fact, People with Disabilities Experienced an Unprecedented Decline in Economic Independence
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.