october 22nd–23rd, 2013 | washington, d.c.

Innovative Research on Employer Practices:
Improving Employment for People with Disabilities

A state of the science conference from the Rehabilitation and Research Training Center on Employer Practices Related to Employment Outcomes among Individuals with Disabilities. This two-day event highlighted the research findings from the Employer Practices Rehabilitation Research and Training Center at Cornell University ILR School's Employment and Disability Institute. It was a great success! Check back for reports and proceedings of the conference.

Patterns of Employment and Skills Match: Implications for Rehabilitation Policy and Practice

Bio Sketches

Kevin Hallock Photo

Kevin F. Hallock, Ph.D., is The Donald C. Opatrny '74 Chair of the Department of Economics, Joseph R. Rich '80 Professor, and Professor of Economics and of Human Resource Studies and Director of the Institute for Compensation Studies at Cornell University. He is also Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, MA, on the Board of Directors of WorldatWork and Distinguished Principal Research Fellow at the Conference Board. His current research is focused on the intersection of compensation design and labor markets, executive compensation, the valuation of stock options, and the plan design and mix of employee compensation. He has written extensively on executive compensation in the for-profit and nonprofit worlds. His most recent book is Pay: Why People Earn What They Earn and What You Can Do Now to Make More, forthcoming by Cambridge University Press. Professor Hallock has been published in a variety of outlets including the American Economic Review, the Journal of Corporate Finance, the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, The Journal of Public Economics, the Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Industrial Relations, the Journal of Economic Perspectives, and Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management. He has co-edited four volumes on Labor Economics and two volumes on Executive Compensation. Funding for his research has come from various sources, including the American Compensation Association, the Intel Corporation, the National Bureau of Economic Research, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Education and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Kevin's work has been discussed in various national and business publications such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Barron's, Business Week, Time Magazine, and Newsweek. He has received teaching awards from the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations and from the Department of Economics at the University of Illinois, where he taught previously. He is the recipient of the Albert Reese Award for the Best Dissertation in Labor Economics from the Industrial Relations Section at Princeton University and the John Dunlop Outstanding Scholar Award from the Labor and Employment Relations Association. At Cornell, Professor Hallock teaches a course on compensation. He earned a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University in 1995, and a B.A. in Economics, Summa Cum Laude, from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 1991.

Lisa Schur's Photo

Lisa Schur, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Management Relations in the Labor Studies and Employment Relations department at Rutgers University. She focuses on disability issues in employment and labor law, particularly the Americans with Disabilities Act and its relationship to other laws and social policies. She also studies alternative work arrangements such as contingent work, and the connections between workplace experiences and political participation. Her work has appeared in the Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Social Science Quarterly, Political Research Quarterly, Industrial Relations and other journals. She has been awarded the Political Research Quarterly Best Article Award for "Enabling Democracy: Disability and Voter Turnout," by the Western Political Science Association for the best article published in the journal in 2002. Lisa earned her J.D. from Northwestern University and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Brian Miller's Photo

Brian Miller, Ph.D., currently works for the U. S. Department of Education in Washington D.C., in the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) as a vocational rehabilitation (VR) specialist. Dr. Miller's primary role at RSA is to conduct comprehensive reviews of state VR agencies for legal compliance as well as program performance. Dr. Miller is originally from California, where he received his bachelor's and master's in political science from San Diego State University. He also received a master's in social studies education, and a doctorate in history from the University of Iowa. Dr. Miller's doctoral fields of study included disability and Latin American history, and American social movements. His dissertation examined the strategies employed by blind activists to take control of a school for the blind in Iowa in the 1960s, and the example this effort affords of the blind civil rights movement's successes and failures at a critical time in the struggle waged for equality for persons who are blind. Dr. Miller is currently working on publishing his dissertation in book form, and has an article awaiting publication in the Annals of Iowa history. He has also consulted on several disability history documentaries, and is active in the disability rights movement locally and nationally.

Conference Remarks

This panel reveals new analyses on job match of employees with disabilities and labor market outcomes using existing national survey and administrative databases. Kevin Hallock describes the implications of these new analyses as well as the benefits of linking existing sophisticated data to identify causal or quasi-causal factors impacting where people with disabilities are employed in the labor market. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration and the research community comment on the methodology and findings.

Questions and Answers

Question, Participant:

Sorry, I have so many questions, but it was so interesting because you were doing the analysis as if there are only two reasons they have low wage. One would be prejudice and the other would be low performance for whatever reason.

But I'm wondering about a couple of other factors, in particular the low self-esteem of people with disabilities, which would cause them not to ask for a raise number one. Has anybody done any measuring about whether people with disabilities ask for raises as much? That's number one.

Number two is there's so much less turnover of people with disabilities. If you look at Walgreen's, the reason they say it's so profitable to hire people with disabilities is it's like Hotel California, you can go, but you never leave. So you don't have any turnover or training costs.

So that's great for an employer who hires people with disabilities, but maybe people aren't getting raises because they're not willing to jump to another job, someplace else, so they can get the extra $2 an hour. So that's a second factor.

The third factor I wonder about is that given that 70 percent of people who are working age with disabilities are outside the workforce, and those who are lucky enough to be amongst the 28 percent who are inside the workforce, that a couple of hundred, maybe 400,000 work in a sheltered workshop, that they're so unbelievably grateful that they have any job, that they don't want to rock the boat, even if they have an employer that loves them, that is not prejudice and would be happy to give them a raise if they just asked for one.

Answer, Kevin F. Hallock:

Yeah. I thought -- the paper certainly isn't written from the perspective that it's just productivity or discrimination or one of those two. It's really much more descriptive than that. So just sort of -- and then we can interpret what those gaps might be.

I mean this is a fantastic point, one that we don't make in the paper. I don't know about the literature on whether persons with disabilities are more or less likely to ask. There certainly is literature on this by gender, on the idea that women are much less likely to ask for raises or negotiate and so on, and it's all related to all of this stuff as well.

So you know, that's clearly a very fascinating thing. I don't know. Lisa, do you know? Does anyone else know about that? I don't.

Comment, Lisa Schur:

I don't know of any.

Answer, Kevin F. Hallock:

We don't know of any.

Comment, Participant:

Well, I don't have any statistics, but I deal with these people. And yes, they do not -- they have reservations about asking for let's say a raise, as you pointed out. The reason is they are afraid that they will lose their job or be demoted, or be ignored or some kind of punishment.

There's a stigma there on both sides, and I don't think we need statistics. I mean there could be statistics. Do a study. But much of what you were talking about is information that's been around for many, many years. I mean I'm talking about 50 years.

It seriously is. They're good points, but I would have liked to see, you know, a little more information -- maybe it is in your report, I don't know.

Comment, Brian Miller:

I was just going to say -- yes, a couple of very quick things, and one is that I think you've identified an interesting field of study, I think, in the area of disability employment.

We do focus a great deal on getting the job. Certainly in the VR world we do. But I think job retention and those aspects, those variables that strengthen job retention and career growth, I think, are rife for more rigorous analysis.

I always get a little hesitant about getting into areas of talking about, you know -- I mean it's interesting to read about higher rates of productivity, I guess, among people of disabilities.

I think I've read more varied studies nowadays. I think it's a more complicated picture than perhaps we once liked to promote, because it's a nice thing to promote, right.

But you know, people with disabilities are subject to all the vagaries of life that everybody, disabled or non-disabled, are subject to. So you know, it gets to be a little tricky when we go, you know, "hire a blind guy and you'll never have to hire anyone again." That's maybe not the best approach. But anyway, thank you.

Comment, Lisa Schur:

Can I just respond really quickly to Jennifer's point? I think it was really good, and I didn't mean to imply that these were the only possible reasons, you know. It has to be lower productivity or discrimination.

But I also just want to say that there is some research about expectations of students in schools, and how teachers often have lower expectations for children with disabilities. I don't know of any studies that then link that to subsequent feelings of esteem and reluctance to ask for raises.

But it makes a lot of sense, and I think it would be a great topic of study.

Question, Participant:

My question is what are some of the implications of your research for my programs, in terms of incentivizing and paying for better outcomes?

Answer, Kevin F. Hallock:

Yeah. You're talking about research on incentivizing better outcomes. I have a mild obsession with research on incentives and compensation. I'd be happy to talk with you more about this.


To view a plain text version of the slides seen below, please see the
Plain Text Summaries.