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State Age Protection Laws and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act

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  • Joanna Lahey

Abstract

Some anti-discrimination laws have the perverse effect of harming the very class they were meant to protect. This paper provides evidence that age discrimination laws belong to this perverse class. Prior to the enforcement of the federal law, state laws had little effect on older workers, suggesting that firms either knew little about these laws or did not see them as a threat. After the enforcement of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) in 1979, white male workers over the age of 50 in states with age discrimination laws worked between 1 and 1.5 fewer weeks per year than workers in states without laws. These men are also .3 percentage points more likely to be retired and .2 percentage points less likely to be hired. These findings suggest that in an anti-age discrimination environment, firms seek to avoid litigation through means not intended by the legislation -- by not employing older workers in the first place.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12048.

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Date of creation: Feb 2006
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Publication status: published as Lahey, Joanna. “State Age Protection Laws and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.” Journal of Law and Economics 51, 3 (2008): 433-460.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12048

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Cited by:
  1. David Neumark & Patrick Button, 2014. "Did Age Discrimination Protections Help Older Workers Weather the Great Recession?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 33(3), pages 566-601, 06.
  2. Melissa Boyle & Debra O'Connor & Stacy Nazzaro, 2008. "Moral Rights Protection for the Visual Arts," Working Papers, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics 0809, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.
  3. Bell, David N.F. & Rutherford, Alasdair C., 2013. "Older Workers and Working Time," IZA Discussion Papers, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) 7546, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. David Neumark & Joanne Song, 2011. "Do Stronger Age Discrimination Laws Make Social Security Reforms More Effective?," NBER Working Papers, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc 17467, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. David Neumark & Joanne Song, 2012. "Barriers to Later Retirement: Increases in the Full Retirement Age, Age Discrimination, and the Physical Challenges of Work," Working Papers, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center wp265, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.

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