Identifying the Effects of the Americans with Disabilities Act Using State-Law Variation: Preliminary Evidence on Educational Participation Effects

Christine Jolls

NBER Working Paper No. 10528
Issued in May 2004
NBER Program(s):Labor Studies, Law and Economics

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) broadly prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment and other settings. Several empirical studies have suggested that employment levels of individuals with disabilities declined rather than increased after the ADA's passage. This paper provides a first look at whether lower disabled employment levels after the ADA might have resulted from increased participation in educational opportunities by individuals with disabilities as a rational response to the ADA's employment protections. The main empirical finding is that individuals with disabilities who were not employed in the years following legal innovation in the form of the ADA were more likely than their pre-ADA counterparts to give educational participation as their reason for not being employed. This preliminary evidence suggests the value of further study, with better education data, of the relationship between the ADA's enactment and disabled participation in educational opportunities.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w10528

Published: Jolls, Christine. "Identifying The Effects Of The Americans With Disabilities Act Using State-Law Variation: Preliminary Evidence On Education Participation Effects," American Economic Review, 2004, v94(2,May), 447-453.

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