January 2005

IZA DP No. 1476: The Disability Discrimination Act in the UK: Helping or Hindering Employment Amongst the Disabled?

published in: Journal of Health Economics, 2009, 28, 465-480

The enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 triggered a substantial academic debate about its consequences on employment rates of disabled people. In contrast, the employment provision of the 1996 Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) in Britain has received little attention. This paper provides robust evidence that, similar to the ADA in the US, the DDA has had no impact on the employment rate of disabled people or possibly worsened it. Possible reasons for this are low take-up of financial support, low levels of general awareness about the Act among disabled people and employers, and limited knowledge about the true costs of required adjustments.