Karen Fisher and Bingqin Li have joined the research project led by Haiqing Yu (RMIT) and participated by Gerald Goggin (Sydney University) on Digital Economy and Disability Employment. This was an exploratory project to map the scene of fast-growing disability employment associated with the digital economy. Their research has been featured in a recent report published by MERICS, “Serve the people. Innovation and IT in China’s social development agenda (PDF)”, an international Think Tank on Chinese policies based in Germany. Karen Fisher participated in the launching event of the report and another event is going to take place in Sydney in early December 2018.

The report shows that the digital economy offers new opportunities for growth and employment, as well as meeting political goals of ‘poverty alleviation’ and overall prosperity by 2020. China has 85 million disabled people according to official statistics, 6.21% of the total population. The actual number is probably much higher since the 'who' estimate is closer to 15% in most countries. Nearly 54% of working-age disabled people (16-60 years old) are in paid employment, that is 9.42 million disabled people of working age. The research team found that disabled people in China are taking up employment and entrepreneurial opportunities in the growing digital economy in surprising ways because of the unique context. The digital economy not only avoids some disability access barriers but also generates new employment for some people without any paid work experience, irrespective of where they live.

The team also produced a journal article in the Journal of Asian Public Policy comparing the policies and practices between China and Australia:

The Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW Sydney will also have an official launch of a new report. More details can be found here.

Goggin, G., Yu, H., Fisher, K. R., & Li, B. (2018). Disability, technology innovation and social development in China and Australia. Journal of Asian Public Policy, 1-17.