Sunday, November 1, 2009

ADA Resulting in Fewer Jobs for Individuals with Disabilities?

As I explained in an earlier post (noting the link between Title IX and Women Coaches), I will be passing along the interesting employment law tidbits I encounter in Levitt and Dubner's SuperFreakonomics.

On page 139, inserted in a discussion of the law of unintended consequences:
"Consider the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was intended to safeguard disabled workers from discrimination. A noble intention, yes? Absolutely--but the data convincingly show that the net result was fewer jobs for Americans with disabilities. Why? After the ADA became law, employers were so worried they wouldn't be able to discipline or fire bad workers who had a disability that they avoided hiring such workers in the first place."
I wonder how they feel about the ADAAA?

The authors relied on a study by two MIT Economics professors finding that:
"Empirical results using the CPS suggest that the ADA had a negative effect on the employment of disabled men of all working ages and disabled women under age 40. The effects appear to be larger in medium size firms, possibly because small firms were exempt from the ADA. The effects are also larger in states where there have been more ADA-related discrimination charges. Estimates of effects on hiring and firing suggest the ADA reduced hiring of the disabled but did not affect separations."
The official "suggested citation" from SSRN:

Acemoglu, Daron and Angrist, Joshua D., Consequences of Employment Protection? The Case of the Americans with Disabilities Act (September 1998). Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 109, October 2001. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=237501. If you know a counterargument or another empirical study please drop a comment.

More SuperFreakonomics notes coming soon!