About the RAND Center for Disability Research

The onset of a severe health impairment can alter the course of an individual's career, in many cases leading to an unexpected and substantial reduction in labor market activity and, ultimately, long-term claiming of disability insurance benefits. Established in 2010, the RAND Center for Disability Research (CDR) aims to better understand the social and economic causes and consequences of disability.

Our research themes include the role of employers in accommodating disabled workers, work disincentives arising from the provision of disability insurance, health insurance and healthcare markets, and the health and human capital of disabled workers. CDR researchers have received financial support from the National Institute on Aging, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Social Security Administration

RAND and the CDR

RAND is a nonprofit research institution dedicated to research and analysis in the public interest. For more than 60 years, decision makers in the public and private sectors have turned to RAND for objective analysis and effective solutions that address the challenges facing the nation and the world.

RAND's key resource is its nearly 800-member professional staff, representing diversity in work experience and academic training. About 57% of the research staff has doctorate degrees and the collective experience of the full staff spans nearly every academic field and profession—from economics and behavioral science to medicine and engineering. Hailing from academia, government and industry, RAND researchers combine theory with real-world experience.

In addition to its own activities, the CDR benefits from synergies from ongoing work elsewhere at RAND and in other RAND centers such as the Center for the Study of Aging, the Bing Center for Health Economics, and the Center for Health and Safety in the Workplace. CDR researchers have also engaged visiting scholars and postdoctoral fellows in the research of the center.

Research Capabilities

RAND has extensive experience conducting programs of research for a single client to produce important contributions to policy analysis and evaluation. Themed centers such as the CDR provide the capability of conducting deep and sustained research on key policy issues, as well as quick-turnaround, short-term policy evaluations.

The CDR specializes in comprehensive economic analysis of issues relating to the employment and welfare of the disabled, application of state-of-the-art statistical methods for causal inference and program evaluation, and development of new data sources for research. CDR researchers bring substantive expertise relating to disability policy and the economic environment facing disabled workers as well as knowledge of and experience in using an array of research design methodologies for evaluating the impacts of programs and policies. The overriding goal of the CDR is to create a research base that will help guide policy makers in promoting evidence-based disability policy reform.

Research Support

RAND provides strong research support services, including highly sophisticated computing software and hardware systems, an extensive data collection facility, a state-of-the-art publications department, financial systems for tracking projects and professional advisory groups that contribute statistical, survey and communications support to projects.