Disability and the Worlds of Welfare Capitalism

Rourke O’Brien

Sociological Science, January 12, 2015
DOI 10.15195/v2.a1

A higher proportion of working- age persons receive disability assistance in the Nordic countries and the Netherlands than in other European countries. Whereas current research emphasizes the connection between disability assistance and rates of labor force exit, to date there has been no exploration of how welfare state context influences individual self-reported disability. Using nationally representative data from 15 countries (n = 88, 478), I find that residents of generous welfare states are significantly more likely to report a disability net of self-reported health, sociodemographic, and labor force characteristics and, notably, that this association extends to younger and more educated workers. I argue that welfare state context may directly shape what it means to be disabled, which may have consequences for evaluations of welfare state performance and social exclusion.

Erratum: Versions downloaded prior to January 30th, 2015 omitted Figure 3. As a result, those versions also have incorrect pagination. Please use the current version.

Rourke O’Brien: Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. Harvard University E-mail: robrien@hsph.harvard.edu

  • Citation: O’Brien, Rourke L. 2015. “Disability and the Worlds of Welfare Capitalism” Sociological Science 2: 1-19.
  • Received: July 26, 2014
  • Accepted: September 20, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen,  Stephen L. Morgan
  • DOI: 10.15195/v2.a1

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