We analyse different disability policy strategies using policy scores developed by the OECD for the period 1990 to 2007. Applying
model-based and hierarchical agglomerative clustering, we investigate the existence of distinct country clusters, characterised
by particular policy combinations. In spite of common trends in policy re-orientation, our results indicate that the reforms
of the last two decades led to more, not less, heterogeneity between country groups in terms of sickness and disability policy.
A set of Northern and Continental European countries emerges as a distinct cluster characterised by its particular combination
of strong employment-oriented policies and comparatively high protection levels. A qualitative review of policy changes in
the most recent years suggests that the gap between these countries and the rest might have further increased. We embed our
empirical analysis in a theoretical framework to identify the objectives and the main components of a comprehensive disability
policy strategy. The objectives of such a strategy can be subsumed under three headings, representing strategy pillars: prevention
and treatment, protection and insurance, and activation and re-integration. Not all these dimensions are covered equally well
by the OECD policy scores and will have to be further investigated.
JEL-Codes:H55, I18, J26
Research group:Labour Economics, Income and Social Security