Essays on Inequality and Disability

Katie M Jajtner, Fordham University


The United States is an economy that experiences high and growing levels of inequality in various forms. At the same time, disability is not uncommon, and is strongly associated with economic disadvantage. In this context, the essays in this dissertation jointly consider the experiences of inequality that can be associated with, or result from, disability in the United States. Data comes from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and Current Population Survey to estimate in relation to disability inequality of opportunity (intergenerational mobility, and school enrollment patterns), trends in income inequality, and projected employment costs of a rising minimum wage. Results suggest that economic disadvantages associated with disability may spill over to subsequent generations through lower intergenerational mobility and a higher probability of exiting school for children whose parents experience disability. Income inequality specifically among households with disabilities is high, and rising rapidly in spite of increased progressivity of government transfers, and disability payments in particular. Furthermore, increasing the minimum wage may increase inequality of outcomes by driving a wedge between employment opportunities for persons with and without disabilities. In the U.S. context of high and growing inequality and economic disadvantages associated with disability, this dissertation makes important contributions in jointly considering these aspects of the U.S. economy and by providing empirical evidence for advocates and policymakers.

Subject Area

Disability studies|Economics

Recommended Citation

Jajtner, Katie M, "Essays on Inequality and Disability" (2018). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10807865.