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Justice, Care, and the Welfare State$

Daniel Engster

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198719564

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198719564.001.0001

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(p.249) Appendix 2 Disability Policies

(p.249) Appendix 2 Disability Policies

Source:
Justice, Care, and the Welfare State
Author(s):

Daniel Engster

Publisher:
Oxford University Press

As discussed in Chapter 5, existing income support and employment policies for disabled people can be analyzed along three main dimensions. Social expenditure data (percentage of GDP spent on sickness and disability benefits) provides one very general indicator of the level of material support that states provide for disabled people and their families. The OECD has further developed two qualitative indices for differentiating disability policies (OECD 2010f, 84–9, 99–102). The first index measures the ease of accessibility and generosity of public income benefits for disabled people, and includes ratings on measures such as the universality of coverage, the generosity of the benefit, the permanency of the benefit, the strictness of medical assessment rules, the minimum degree of work incapacity required to receive a benefit, and so forth (see OECD 2010f, 99). The second index measures the strength of employment policies for disabled people and includes ratings on measures such as the degree to which states require employers to accommodate people with disabilities, the degree of state support for disability employment programs, the amount of state subsidies for the employment of people with disabilities, the scope of sheltered employment programs, and other similar components (OECD 2010f, 100). In each index, countries are ranked by the OECD on a scale from 0 (least generous or accessible) to 5 (most generous or accessible) on 10 different components for a total possible score of 50.

Based on a cluster analysis of income support and employment policies, OECD researchers have identified three disability policy regime types (see Table A2.1) (OECD 2010f, 88–90). Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland all cluster together in the first regime type, characterized by relatively generous and accessible compensation policies—with near universal benefit coverage, a low entry-threshold for partial disability benefits, and generous cash allowances—and strong employment-promotion policies with a particular focus on vocational rehabilitation (OECD 2010f, 88–9). Denmark and the Netherlands stand out in this group for their less generous disability benefits and greater focus on employment programs. The second group, consisting of Austria, Belgium, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, provide moderately generous and accessible income benefits and moderate support for employment. With the exception of Austria and France, these states tend to be more heavily oriented toward income benefits than employment. The third group, including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, generally offers less accessible and less generous benefits but moderate to high incentives for (p.250)

Table A2.1. Disability Income Support and Employment Policies for Nineteen OECD Countries1

Expenditures on Disability and Sickness Benefits % of GDP (2009 or latest year)

Accessibility and Generosity of Disability Income Benefits (on a scale of 0–50)

Support for Disability-related Employment Programs (on a scale of 0–50)

Denmark

4.9

28

37

Finland

4.1

32

32

Germany

2.3

32

35

Netherlands

3.1

24

35

Norway

4.7

33

37

Sweden

5.0

37

32

Switzerland

3.3

32

27

Average

3.9

31.1

33.6

Austria

2.5

24

30

Belgium

2.5

25

24

France

2.0

25

26

Greece

1.0

25

16

Ireland

2.4

26

17

Italy

1.9

26

18

Portugal

2.1

33

16

Spain

2.7

27

22

Average

2.1

26.4

21.1

Australia

2.3

21

28

Canada

0.9

18

24

United Kingdom

2.9

21

32

United States

1.5

17

21

Average

1.9

19.3

26.3

disabled people to find paid employment, primarily through employer accommodation requirements and work incentive policies.

Table A2.2 provides data on disabled people in three areas. Employment rates are the percentage of working age disabled people in the paid labor force. Income data are expressed as the ratio of the average income of working age disabled people to that of working age people in general. Poverty rates are the percentage of households with a disabled person that have less than 60 percent of the median income in a country. While there is some variation within groups, a couple of general trends emerge from the data. The first group of countries, which provide generous support for both benefits and employment, does the best on average across all measures. Even though countries such as Denmark, Finland, and Germany have high disability poverty rates, Finland’s and Germany’s poverty rates are still below the group 2 average, and all of these countries perform above the group 2 averages on employment rates and incomes. While the second group of states does worse, on average, than the first group on all measures, it significantly outperforms the third group on income levels and poverty rates. The third group nevertheless achieves slightly higher employment levels for disabled people than (p.251)

Table A2.2. Employment Rates, Average Incomes, and Poverty Rates of Disabled Persons (Late 2000s)2

Employment Rates of Disabled People

Average Incomes of Disabled People as a Ratio of the Average Income of the Working Age Population

Poverty Rates among Households with a Disabled Person (60% median income poverty line)

Denmark

52.3

0.88

24.8

Finland

43.5

0.91

21.6

Germany

50.4

0.86

20.7

Netherlands

44.5

0.87

11.5

Norway

44.7

0.91

10.8

Sweden

62.3

0.93

10.4

Switzerland

54.9

0.95

13.7

Average

50.4

0.90

16.2

Austria

43.9

0.89

17.7

Belgium

36.3

0.79

18.8

France

45.8

17.1

Greece

34.2

0.87

19.5

Ireland

32.9

0.71

36.8

Italy

40.7

0.85

21.2

Portugal

47.9

25.5

Spain

35.7

0.84

24.1

Average

39.7

0.83

22.6

Australia

39.8

0.68

44.7

Canada

46.9

0.87

32.2

United Kingdom

45.3

0.73

23.6

United States

38.5

0.69

47.6

Average

42.6

0.74

37.0

the second group, reflecting its on-average stronger employment focus. In Chapter 5, I provide the general results of a Pearson two-tailed correlation analysis of the three policy indicators (spending levels, accessibility and generosity of benefits, and employment support) and the three outcome measures (employment, income, and poverty) for the countries listed here.

Notes:

(1) Data on social expenditures from OECD.Stat (Social Expenditure Database). Data on indices from OECD 2010f, 101–2.

(2) Data from OECD 2010f, 51–61.