Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 01-72




This paper examines linkages between disability and health status and the returns to education and basic skills training. It bases analyses on two separate data sources: wave 3 from the 1993 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) and the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS). The data sets have been used to estimate standard wage equations with education and basic skills training among the independent variables. The NALS data set allows us to control for prose, quantitative, and document literacy. The wage equations rely on Heckit corrections for labor force participation, and we stratify by sex. We also estimate the wage equations stratifying by disability status (also with an appropriate econometric correction) to permit the coefficient estimates on all the regressors to vary by disability status. Overall, we find that the returns to education for individuals with a disability or poor health are positive, although of moderate size and equal to the returns for the nondisabled population. The findings suggest supply side policy options that maintain or improve access to and retention in educational opportunities are indicated. Basic skills training seems to be especially advantageous for some individuals.

Issue Date

August 2001


Revised version of paper that was presented at the January 2001 ASSA meetings held in New Orleans, Louisiana

Subject Areas

EDUCATION; Postsecondary education; Adult education; UNEMPLOYMENT, DISABILITY, and INCOME SUPPORT PROGRAMS; Workers compensation and disability; Disability




Hollenbeck, Kevin, and Jean Kimmel. 2001. "The Returns to Education and Basic Skills Training for Individuals with Poor Health or Disability." Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 01-72. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.