Wage Discrimination Against Workers with Sensory Disabilities


  • The authors gratefully acknowledge helpful comments from Ronald Oaxaca (University of Arizona), from conference participants at the 2012 meetings of the American Society of Health Economists (ASHEcon), from seminar participants at Centre d'Etudes de Populations, de Pauvreté et de Politiques Socio-Economiques / International Networks for Studies in Technology, Environment, Alternatives, Development (CEPS/INSTEAD) and from two anonymous referees. Parts of this research were completed while Dr. Choe was employed at CEPS/INSTEAD.


We link information on occupation-specific job demands to data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation to provide first-ever estimates of wage discrimination against workers with sensory disabilities. Estimates are derived from wage models that control for job demands related to sensory abilities, and interactions between job demands and workers' sensory limitations. Results indicate approximately one third (one tenth) of the male (female) disability-related wage differential is potentially attributed to discrimination. The results differ from estimates of discrimination against workers with physical disabilities obtained with similar methods, underscoring the importance of accounting for heterogeneity of the disabled population in discrimination studies.