Although interest in research on persons with disabilities has grown steadily, these individuals continue to encounter workplace discrimination and remain marginalized and understudied. We draw on human capital and discrimination theories to propose and test hypotheses on the effects of educational attainment on earnings (in)equality for persons with disabilities and the moderating influence of gender and race using 885,950 records, including 40,438 persons with disabilities from the American Community Survey 2015 (United States Census Bureau, 2015). Consistent with human capital theory, we find that persons with disabilities benefit from greater educational attainment, yet consistent with disability discrimination theories, we find evidence that they are less likely to convert educational gains for master’s and higher degrees into earning gains, and consistent with theories on multiple sources of discrimination, we find that women with disabilities may be doubly disadvantaged. These results, however, are mixed and complex. Considering the importance of harnessing diverse talent in organizations, we outline implications for research and practice toward reducing workplace discrimination.

Corresponding Author Information

David C. Baldridge


Oregon State University, College of Business 2751 SW Jefferson St., Corvallis, OR 97330



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