A Method for Comparing the Economic Outcomes of the Working-Age Population with Disabilities in Germany and United States
Using a work limitation-based measure of disability, researchers have found that the employment of working-age men (aged 21-58) with disabilities fell dramatically relative to such men without disabilities in the United States in the 1990s. Because no such measure of the population with disabilities is consistently provided for Germany, this paper develops an equivalent work limitation-based measure of disability in the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP). Using the presence of a severe work limitation as a benchmark when available, we combine two alternative survey questions in the GSOEP to consistently define a work limitation-based disability variable for all years of the data. Using this measure we find that while the employment of working-age men with disabilities fell substantially relative to such men without disabilities in both countries, the decline in the relative employment of working-age men with disabilities in Germany occurred in the late 1980s, well before the decline in the United States, and was relatively stable in the 1990s.