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A Cross-National Comparison of the Employment for Men With Disabilities: The United States and Germany in the 1980s and 1990s
Richard V. Burkhauser and Johan Mathis Schröder
WP 2004-071

Using a single period measure to capture the population with disabilities in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics we observe the same dramatic decline in the relative employment rate of working age people with disabilities in the 1990s that is found in the Current Population Survey. We find that the trends in these two data sets are not significantly different over the 1980s and 1990s. This is also the case when we use longitudinal aspects of the PSID to develop long duration disability populations. Using similar methods we compare the levels and trends in the relative employment of working age men with disabilities in Germany using data from the German Socio- Economic Panel. We find that while the relative employment rates of men with disabilities fall dramatically in both countries, the timing of these falls is not the same. Relative employment rates for German men with disabilities fell in the late 1980s but were constant over the 1990s while the opposite occurred in the United States. We argue that these differences in timing are more likely to be caused by differences in the timing of changes in the social environment these men faced than in differences in the timing of changes in the severity of their work limitations in the two countries.

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