Disability and the future of work: A speculative essay

Richard K. Scotch, Charles E. McConnel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Purpose - To identify likely trends in American society and the economy and discuss their implications for the inclusion of people with disabilities in the paid workforce. Design/Methodology/Approach - An overview of recent and likely future trends relevant to the workforce participation of Americans with disabilities. Findings - While some trends in policy, technology, and culture are likely to promote wider participation by individuals with disabilities in paid employment, other factors in the emerging economy, labor markets, and workplaces may constrain such participation. Research limitations/Implications - Uncertainty over future changes does not allow accurate forecasting of labor market trends for people with disabilities. Originality/Value - Many previous analyses have focused on developments within single arenas such as communications or transportation technology that might enable people with disabilities to participate more easily in paid employment. Our essay suggests the relevance of multiple contextual factors in shaping labor markets for potential workers with disabilities, but also identifies some likely constraints in expanding employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationResearch in Social Science and Disability
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages18
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Publication series

NameResearch in Social Science and Disability
ISSN (Print)1479-3547


  • Accessibility
  • Disability
  • Discrimination
  • Employment
  • Technology
  • Workforce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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