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In Search of Effective Disability Policy

In Search of Effective Disability Policy: Comparing the Developments and Outcomes of the Dutch and Danish Disability Policies

Jan Høgelund
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    In Search of Effective Disability Policy
    Book Description:

    In Search of Effective Disability Policy examines the potentials of two very different strategies of integrating disabled people into the working life. In the Netherlands employers have great responsi-bility for the integration. In contrast employers have limited responsibility in the Danish strategy, where public authorities are crucial. This book finds that there are virtues and drawbacks of both strategies. While the Dutch policy promotes work-retention of sick-listed workers, it hampers the labour market entry of non-employed disabled people. This is so because employers avoid hiring disabled people as future work-disability inflicts costs upon employers. This is not the case in Denmark. But here too many workers with health problems lose their labour market attachment because employers are allowed to dismiss them and as public reintegration measures do not work as intended. Consequently, an effective disability policy should demand neither too little nor too much of employers. By combing macro-level analyses with empirical analyses at the micro-level this book distinguishes itself from most other studies in the field. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0527-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-8)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. 9-10)
  4. 1 Disability Policies Under Pressure
    (pp. 11-30)

    Effective disability policies are increasingly important for the sustainability of modern welfare states. How policies influence employers and disabled people is crucial for nations succeed in integrating disabled people into the labour market. Policies may motivate disabled people to participate actively in the labour market and provide them with skills and abilities that increase their employability. Policies also, in different ways and to varying degrees, motivate employers to employ disabled people. This may happen by demanding that employers have a certain number of disabled people in their staff, by forbidding the dismissal of sick-listed workers or by making it economically...

  5. 2 The Integration of Disabled People: What Do We Know?
    (pp. 31-52)

    In order to better understand how disability policies influence citizens’ attachment to the labour market, we need to identify the conditions and mechanisms that determine why some people with health problems remain in the labour force whereas others enter a disability programme. The purpose of this and the next chapter is, therefore, to put forward a theoretical framework that can guide an analysis of the consequences of Dutch and Danish disability policies. This chapter reviews some of the literature within the area of the labour market integration of sick-listed workers. Against the background of this review the following chapter presents...

  6. 3 Bringing the Pieces Together: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Work Disability
    (pp. 53-64)

    This chapter seeks to bring together the different insights of the clinical, economical, public policy and sociological approaches to work disability. This should help to improve our understanding of how conditions both at the individual level and at a structural level influence the labour market attachment of disabled people. That is, how do disabled people’s individual characteristics and family relations lead to different outcomes? How do labour market conditions affect the labour market situation of work-disabled people? Which policy instruments may be of importance, and how do they interact with individual characteristics to produce diverse labour market outcomes?

    Why do...

  7. 4 Economic Miracles Bypassing Disabled People
    (pp. 65-74)

    During the 1960s and 1970s the social security systems of advanced nations matured. Social insurance programmes covered more social risks and more people became eligible to still better benefits. When the economic downturn and an increasing supply of labour appeared in the 1970s and 1980s, the consequences were harsh. The number of people who temporarily or permanently left the labour market soared, and so did social security expenditure. The response to and consequences of this pressure varied across nations. This chapter uses national macro indicators to give a brief overview of the development of the Dutch and Danish welfare states...

  8. 5 Dutch Disability Reforms: Redefining Responsibilities
    (pp. 75-92)

    In 1990 the Dutch Prime Minister declared the Netherlands ‘a sick country’ and that he would resign if the number of disability beneficiaries grew beyond 1 million (Aarts and de Jong, 1996b). At that time the disability problem had become synonymous with the crisis in the Dutch welfare state. It reflected an increasing problem of paid inactivity: the number of people receiving social benefits relative to the number of employed people had become alarmingly high. For every 100 employed more than 80 people were receiving some form of social security benefit (including old age pension) (Visser and Hemerijck, 1997). Combined...

  9. 6 Danish Disability Policy: Small Steps, Big Change?
    (pp. 93-110)

    In contrast to the Netherlands, Denmark has never been involved in a direct fight against disability problems. The development in the number of disability beneficiaries has evolved much more slowly than in the Netherlands (see Chapter 4), which is probably the reason why disability problems has not been a contested issue in the political landscape. Danish disability policy has instead developed in the wake of efforts to limit public expenditure and later in the 1990s in the wake of the general discourse of an active labour market policy. The development has not involved radical reforms, but a series of adjustments...

  10. 7 Different Routes to Integration
    (pp. 111-134)

    The Dutch and Danish disability policies differ with respect to with whom the responsibility for labour market integration of sick-listed workers rests. The responsibility of employers is much more extensive in the Netherlands than in Denmark, and vice versa with regard to the responsibility of public authorities. Workers’ income protection during sick leave constitutes another difference: Dutch workers generally seem to enjoy better income protection during sick leave than Danish workers. This and the following two chapters shed light on how these differences influence the labour market integration of work-disabled people.

    Extensive employer responsibility makes it costly and difficult for...

  11. 8 Different Policies – Different Outcomes
    (pp. 135-158)

    The Dutch and Danish policies differ with respect to the division of the responsibility for the integration of disabled people into the labour market. In the Netherlands this responsibility mainly rests with the individual employer, whereas in Denmark it is largely delegated to public authorities. This chapter sheds light on some of the consequences that these differences have for the extent to which disabled people are integrated into the labour market.

    The Dutch regulations make it costly for employers to marginalise sicklisted workers and we should therefore expect that it will enhance the labour market integration of disabled workers. The...

  12. 9 Too Much and Too Little: Employers’ Responsibility in Denmark and the Netherlands
    (pp. 159-178)

    The Dutch and the Danish disability policies share the aim of reducing the number of people entering the disability benefit rolls while increasing the labour market attachment of people with health problems. Yet we have seen that during the 1990s different policies were enacted in order to reach these goals, and that these policies result in very different outcomes.

    The Dutch policy focuses on employers who to a large extent have become responsible for the financing of sickness and disability benefits and the reintegration of disabled people; employers have been given strong economic incentives to retain workers after the onset...

  13. Tables and Figures
    (pp. 179-180)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 181-186)
  15. References
    (pp. 187-200)
  16. Index of Subjects
    (pp. 201-204)
  17. Index of Names
    (pp. 205-208)