Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Baldwin, M.L. & Choe, C. (2014). Wage discrimination against workers with sensory impairments. Industrial Relations, 53 (1), 101-124.
Title:  Wage discrimination against workers with sensory impairments
Authors:  Baldwin, M.L. & Choe, C.
Year:  2014
Journal/Publication:  Industrial Relations
Publisher:  Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Not reported
Research design:  Database mining

Structured abstract:

Background:  Individuals with sensory impairments (hearing, speech and vision) have poor employment outcomes as compared to their non disabled peers. They also experience lower rates of promotion, job stability and tend to be underemployed considering their levels of education and work experience.
Purpose:  This purpose of this study was to look at the importance of discrimination versus productivity effects in determining employment outcomes for people with sensory disabilities.
Study sample:  The sample included working aged people who had completed school. This included 1297 women and 1122 men with sensory disabilities, of whom 12% were employed. The non disabled comparison group included 34,686 women and 28,262 men of whom 65% were employed.
Control or comparison condition:  A comparison was made between men and women with sensory disabilities and non disabled peers. All analyses were conducted separately for men and women.
Data collection and analysis:  Data from three years of the Survey of Income and Program Participation was merged to data on job demands for sensory abilities from the Occupational Information Network. This included job demands variables in wage models upon which the researchers estimates were based. Interaction effects between job demands and workers sensory limitations were included as measures of the extent to which sensory disorder affect important functions of the occupation. Wage and wage decomposition models were used. The researchers also estimated two alternative models for comparison.
Findings:  The combined effects of productivity losses and potential discrimination effects have a significant impact on wages for employees with sensory disabilities. There are great gender differences in the importance of productivity effects in explaining wage differences in workers with physical versus sensory disabilities.
Conclusions:  People with sensory disabilities may be subject to discrimination in the workplace. There is much to be learned by studying subgroups of the disability population. Doing so should contribute to the development of policies that will improve employment outcomes and reduce economic dependence of individuals with disabilities.

Disabilities served:  Blindness
Hearing impairment
Speech or language impairment
Visual impairment
Populations served:  Gender: Female and Male
Outcomes:  Other