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How Do Age Discrimination Laws Affect Older Workers?

  • Joanna Lahey

The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits age-based discrimination against older workers through hiring, firing, layoffs, compensation and other conditions of employment. The law covers most workers age 40 and older in firms with 20 or more employees. The question is whether the ADEA and similar state laws have helped or hurt older workers. On the one hand, the legislation may have prevented companies from unfairly dismissing older workers. On the other hand, the fear of lawsuits may have dissuaded employers from hiring older workers. If so, the law would benefit "insiders" who already have jobs but harm "outsiders" seeking employment. This brief discusses the history, mechanics, and impact of age protection laws in the United States. It summarized previous research and presents new findings using data from the Current Population Survey.

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File URL: http://crr.bc.edu/briefs/how-do-age-discrimination-laws-affect-older-workers/
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Paper provided by Center for Retirement Research in its series Work Opportunity Briefs with number wob_5.

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Length: 8 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2006
Date of revision: Oct 2006
Handle: RePEc:crr:crrwob:wob_5
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  1. David Neumark, 2003. "Age Discrimination Legislation in the United States," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(3), pages 297-317, 07.
  2. Orley Ashenfelter & David Card, 2002. "Did the Elimination of Mandatory Retirement Affect Faculty Retirement?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 957-980, September.
  3. Adams, Scott J., 2004. "Age discrimination legislation and the employment of older workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 219-241, April.
  4. Joanna Lahey, 2005. "Age, Women, and Hiring: An Experimental Study," NBER Working Papers 11435, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Michael Schuster & Christopher S. Miller, 1984. "An empirical assessment of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 38(1), pages 64-74, October.
  6. Joni Hersch & W. Kip Viscusi, 2004. "Punitive Damages: How Judges and Juries Perform," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 1-36, 01.
  7. Siegelman, Peter & Donohue, John J, III, 1995. "The Selection of Employment Discrimination Disputes for Litigation: Using Business Cycle Effects to Test the Priest-Klein Hypothesis," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 427-62, June.
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