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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2008): Services for the disabled - overseas

Cream skimming in employment programmes for the disabled? Evidence from Sweden

P. Skedinger and B. Widerstedt

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 28, 2007, p. 694-714

This study examines recruitment to Samhall, a Swedish state-owned company which is the country’s main provider of sheltered employment for disabled people. According to guidelines, workers with severe disabilities should be prioritised. The company is also expected to be profitable. The conflict between these objectives could lead to cream skimming, ie placing the most able candidates in jobs. The analysis shows that people with intellectual or psychiatric disabilities (a high priority group) are more likely to be hired than individuals from some other groups of disabled people. Individuals without disabilities tend to be hired by the company, which suggests creaming and is contrary to guidelines.

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