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Key Findings Details

Work Disability, Work, and Justification Bias in Europe and the U.S.
Arie Kapteyn, James P. Smith and Arthur van Soest
WP 2009-207

  • American workers are more likely to suffer from chronic conditions than their European counterparts.
  • Overall, Americans are less likely to see themselves as work disabled than Europeans.
  • However, to justify not working, nonworking Americans tend to classify health problems as more serious work limitations than those who are working.
  • In contrast, Europeans classify the work limitations of health problems the same regardless of whether they are working or nonworking.
  • Not working is more acceptable in Europe than in the United States, regardless of health status.
  • Work disability increases with age, decreases with schooling, and is lower for married respondents in all countries.