Thursday, 28 July 2016

What happens when the definition of disability changes? The case of obesity

an article by Jennifer Bennett Shinall (Vanderbilt University Law School) published in IZA Journal of Labor Economics Volume 5 Number 2 (2016)


This paper examines how Congress’s 2008 expansion of who is disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) impacts the labor market outcomes of newly covered individuals.

Focusing on obese individuals, I exploit variation in coverage of obesity before and after the 2008 expansion to identify effects of the legal change, but I find no improvement in the labor market outcomes of the obese. Although the 2008 expansion was intended to remedy the unintended consequences of the ADA and improve labor market outcomes of the disabled, these early estimates suggest that the expansion has not yet achieved Congress’s stated goals.

JEL codes: J14, J21, J78, K31

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Hazel’s comment:
Yes, this a US-centric article but throws some light on what obese people can expect by way of discrimination.

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