Recent studies in the World Report on Disability, show that persons with disabilities tend to live in vicious cycles of low education and subsequently in poverty. More than 200 million live in developing countries with unclear obstacles, laws and lack of education. A study in Nepal found that the return on investment in education was very high among persons with disabilities and that education has played an important role.
The panel discussion “Disability and Economics: The nexus between disability, education and employment”, held on 1 July and moderated by Akiko Ito, Chief of the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, highlighted the moral, social imperatives and economic return when including persons with disabilities in the labour market using Nepal as an example.
Michael Morris, J.D., Executive Director of Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University, stressed that most of the problems for persons with disabilities is located in the informal market where there is a lack of solutions.
“In many countries, persons with disabilities often work primarily in unpaid forms of employment, including work in the home, self‐employment and informal work,” said Mr. Morris. He highlighted the importance of making affirmative actions and of having company quotas for adding disabled people.
Akihiko Matsui from the READ Project of the University of Tokyo, presented a path to a more inclusive way, using the game theory, that when people with disabilities are more included into the market and society, the benefit will exceed the cost.
“Poor economic conditions and segregation policy of persons with disabilities may induce prejudices, which in turn prevent the society from including some people,” Mr. Matsui said.
The discussion concluded with recommendations about the need for an improvement in education as an opportunity; investment in inclusive economy development; and protection against discrimination.
The importance to promote employer incentives, inclusive financial service and publicize road maps out of poverty were also highlighted, along with the Nepal study as an improvement in data collection for governments to design appropriate policies to alleviate poverty among the disabled.