Beth Ann Loy

Date of Graduation


Document Type



This study analyzed the economic impacts of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which was passed by Congress to eliminate workplace discrimination on the basis of disability. Specifically, the main objectives of this study were to answer five research questions and estimate an interaction model. The ADA was intended to spark an economic revolution by drastically increasing the employment rate of people with disabilities. Because of the potential societal impacts, it is vital to successful future economic planning and policymaking that the economic effects of the law be examined. Various datasets from 1985 through 2000 were gathered from several federal agencies to discern the impact of Title I's implementation. First, the study showed that with Title I's implementation employers have not decreased the frequency that they offer paid sick leave benefit packages. Second, occupational injuries and illnesses have not increased with the implementation of Title I. Third, with Title I's implementation, the existence of right-to-work legislation has not influenced whether individuals file federal claims of discrimination. Fourth, the number of workers considered disabled under the U.S. disability insurance program has not decreased with the implementation of Title I. Finally, regions with higher personal incomes have been more likely to favor people with disabilities in Title I related discrimination suits. In addition, a logit model estimation showed that real U.S. personal income, the number of individuals covered by unions or employee associations, and the population adjusted number of workers considered disabled under the Old Age Survivors and Disability Insurance program significantly interacted with the implementation of Title I. Results obtained from this study suggest that Title I has not imposed excessive burdens on employers or impeded other policy initiatives. Nonetheless, the ultimate goal of increasing the employment rate of people with disabilities has not been realized. Policy changes recommended in this study focus on targeted incentives to increase the law's effectiveness.