The Limitations of Disability Antidiscrimination Legislation: Policymaking and the Economic Well-being of People with Disabilities(John Wiley & Sons and the University of Denver)

Author: David Pettinicchio

Law & Policy, Aug 2014

Coauthor: Michelle Maroto

Although Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to address, in large part, the declining economic well-being of people with disabilities—twenty years later—the trend has not reversed. To shed light on this puzzle, we use multilevel models to analyze Current Population Survey data from 1988 through 2012 matched with state-level predictors. We take a more nuanced approach than previous research and consider institutional factors related to the creation, enforcement, and interpretation of legislation, as well as individual demographics and employment situations. Our results show continual gaps in employment and earnings by disability status connected to the enactment of state-level antidiscrimination legislation, the number of ADA charges brought to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the results of ADA court settlements and decisions. Our findings suggest a complex relationship between legislative intent and policy outcomes, showcasing the multilayered institutional aspects behind the implementation of disability antidiscrimination legislation.

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