Physical Disability and Labor Market Discrimination: Evidence from a Field Experiment

Short summary: 

We investigate labor market discrimination toward wheelchair users using data from a large-scale field experiment conducted in the province of Quebec (Canada). Applications were randomly sent to 1,477 private firms operating in two urban areas and advertising open positions requiring various skill levels. The applications were randomly generated to cover a broad spectrum of potential determinants of discrimination (gender, skill level, work history, workplace adjustment costs, etc.). We find average callback rates of disabled and non-disabled applicants of 14.4% and 31%, respectively. We investigate whether the differential may result from accessibility constraints related to the physical infrastructures where firms are located; the latter are found to have no explanatory power, as do explicit mentions in applications if a candidate is eligible to a government subsidy to cover the cost of workplace adaptations and assistive technology.

Publication Authors: 
Charles Bellemare
Marion Goussé
Guy Lacroix and Steeve Marchand


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