Disability policy is often characterized as comprising three different components: citizenship rights, labor market integration and social protection. In this study, we present a fourth component–disability-related innovation. Specifically we analyze two critical interrelated questions: what governments do to guide innovation in this area; and do patterns of greater government disability policy involvement in social-democratic welfare states apply in the case of innovation? Utilizing a qualitative comparison of Germany, Israel, Sweden and the United States, we find that while policy across all countries is at first glance decisively similar, the important differences that exist cannot be satisfactorily explained within the classical welfare state typology framework. Countries that are leaders in terms of social support for disabled people–Germany and Sweden–are not necessarily leaders in disability-related innovation. This is particularly noticeable in the case of programs for support of Assistive Technology development.
- Assistive Technology development
- Disability policy
- Universal Design
- innovation policy