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Pre Post differences in labor market outcomes for participants of vocational rehabilitation in Germany

Vortrag auf dem 27. Rehabilitationswissenschaftlichen Kolloquium vom 26. bis 28. Februar 2018 in München

Sammelwerk / Reihe:

Rehabilitation bewegt!


Echarti, Nicolas


Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund (DRV Bund)


Berlin: Eigenverlag, 2018, Seite 208-209




Link zu dem Beitrag im Tagungsband (PDF | 12 MB)



Persons with disabilities have much lower employment rates than the population as a whole and are at a significantly higher risk of living in poverty (OECD, 2011, pp. 50-56 and WHO, 2011, pp. 237-239). However, many of the barriers people with disabilities face, with regards to labor market reintegration, are in fact avoidable. There has for quite some time been evidence that differences in employment and wages, between disabled and non-disabled workers, can only to a limited extent be explained by differences in human capital endowments and productivity (Kidd, Sloane, & Ferko, 2000). Instead, factors such as the absence of access to education and training, and the lack of financial assistance provided are actually significant drivers of labor market exclusion (OECD, 2009, p.15; WHO, 2011, p.239).

Despite having good empirical evidence on the impact of labor market programs targeted at regular job seekers (see for example Card, Kluve, & Weber, 2010 for a recent review), empirical evidence on program effects of vocational rehabilitation for persons with disabilities is rather scarce. There is still considerable disagreement on the long-term effectiveness of vocational rehabilitation and the predictors of successful return to work. Yet there is a wide demand for representative empirical data as detailed results are needed to be able to investigate and react to the specific needs and responses of individuals. To improve the provision of services one important step is to provide an assessment of the relevant person-related and environmental factors influencing long term-employment outcomes. Because persons with disabilities and those at risk of becoming disabled do not constitute a homogeneous group of people, possible barriers to work reintegration can only adequately be assessed with reference to the individual situation of the patients (Schmidt, 2015).


This research contributes from a labor market perspective to the literature on the topic of vocational rehabilitation in Germany. Through the comparison of income and employment data over several years before and after program entry, cohort and individual employment results are measured. A particular aspect examined, is the extent to which differences among rehabilitants in pre-post earnings, days with employment and days with unemployment benefits can be linked to the participants' socio-economic background.


For more than 19,000 participants of vocational rehabilitation in Germany labor market results four years before and after program entry are retrieved and put into comparison. In the analysis, rehabilitants are compared among each other to find out to what extent differences in pre-post labor market outcomes can be linked to their demographic and occupational status. The estimation of individual level determinants is carried out using two Ordinary Least Square (OLS) models: a gain score and a lagged depended variable model. Rehabilitants are differentiated by demographic as well as work related characteristics including their age, gender, marital status and nationality, place of residence, job position, employment status and prior employment history. To control for possible health differences among participants medical discharge information is included as a control.


According to the estimates of the regression models, differences in Return to Work after participation in vocational rehabilitation can to a substantial extent be predicted based on the socio demographic and employment characteristics of the participants. In particular, younger, better educated, white collar workers and those previously employed in fulltime contracts exhibit significantly higher earnings increase, higher days in employment change and fewer days on unemployment benefits than their respective comparison groups. Conversely, older persons, those with limited education, those working in blue collar and those with shift/night work or in part-time are least successful in improving their respective employment situation in comparison with the situation before. Furthermore, significant, but rather small differences are detected between men and women as well as with regards to the rehabilitants' marital status.


The attained findings support the argument that providers of vocational rehabilitation services need to be aware of the influence demographic and occupational factors have on labor market outcomes. More research is needed that examines the specific barriers to re-employment in the return to work process of the aforementioned socio-economic groups of patients: In particular older rehabilitants, those with little education or skills and persons in non-regular employment.

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Sammelwerk '27. Rehabilitationswissenschaftliches Kolloquium: Rehabilitation bewegt!' | REHADAT-Literatur


Sammelwerksbeitrag / Forschungsergebnis / Online-Publikation


Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund (DRV Bund)
Bereich Reha-Forschung > Reha-Kolloquium

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Informationsstand: 16.04.2018

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