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Age discrimination in hiring decisions: Evidence from a field experiment in the labor market

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  • Carlsson, Magnus
  • Eriksson, Stefan

Abstract

This paper shows the results of a field experiment in which over 6000 fictitious resumes with randomly assigned information about age (35–70 years) were sent to Swedish employers with vacancies in low- and medium-skilled occupations. We find that the callback rate begins to fall substantially for workers in their early 40s and becomes very low for workers close to the retirement age. The decline in the callback rate by age is steeper for women than for men. Employer stereotypes about the ability to learn new tasks, flexibility, and ambition seem to be an important explanation for age discrimination.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlsson, Magnus & Eriksson, Stefan, 2019. "Age discrimination in hiring decisions: Evidence from a field experiment in the labor market," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 173-183.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:59:y:2019:i:c:p:173-183
    DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2019.03.002
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    7. Berde, Éva & Mágó, Mánuel László, 2021. "Életkori diszkrimináció a magyar munkaerőpiacon. Visszajelzések a fiatalabb, illetve az idősebb nők állásjelentkezéseire [Age discrimination in Hungarys labour market. Job-application responses for," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(4), pages 399-420.
    8. Lippens, Louis & Vermeiren, Siel & Baert, Stijn, 2021. "The state of hiring discrimination: A meta-analysis of (almost) all recent correspondence experiments," GLO Discussion Paper Series 972, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    9. Вишневская Н. Т., 2021. "Поддержание Занятости Работников Старших Возрастов В Странах Оэср. Перенастройка Механизма," Вопросы государственного и муниципального управления // Public administration issues, НИУ ВШЭ, issue 3, pages 135-154.
    10. Hipp, Lena, 2020. "Do hiring practices penalize women and benefit men for having children? Experimental evidence from Germany," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 250-264.
    11. Joanna N. Lahey & Douglas R. Oxley, 2021. "Discrimination at the Intersection of Age, Race, and Gender: Evidence from an Eye‐Tracking Experiment," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 40(4), pages 1083-1119, September.
    12. Granberg, Mark & Andersson, Per A. & Ahmed, Ali, 2020. "Hiring Discrimination Against Transgender People: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    13. Allgood, Sam, 2020. "Age discrimination and academic labor markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 70-78.
    14. Hipp, Lena, 2018. "Do hiring practices penalize women and benefit men for having children? Experimental evidence from Germany," SocArXiv 4a68p, Center for Open Science.
    15. Joanne Song McLaughlin, 2020. "Falling Between the Cracks: Discrimination Laws and Older Women," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 34(2), pages 215-238, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Demographic challenge; Age; Gender; Discrimination; Field experiment; Hiring;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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