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State Age Protection Laws and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act

  • Joanna Lahey

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. It exploits an unusual aspect of the policy for enforcement of the federal 1968 Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which made filing an age discrimination claim less burdensome in some states than in others. After the enforcement of the federal law, white male workers over age 50 in states where the federal government allowed 300 days to file a discrimination complaint worked between 1 and 1.5 fewer weeks per year than did workers in states without laws. These men were 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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File URL: http://crr.bc.edu/working-papers/state-age-protection-laws-and-age-discrimination-in-employment-act/
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Paper provided by Center for Retirement Research in its series Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College with number wp2006-24.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2006
Date of revision: Nov 2006
Handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:wp2006-24
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  1. Burgess, Simon & Lane, Julia & Stevens, David, 2000. "Job Flows, Worker Flows, and Churning," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 473-502, July.
  2. Barbara A Butrica & Karen Elizabeth Smith & C. Eugene Steuerle, 2006. "Working for a Good Retirement," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2006-8, Center for Retirement Research, revised May 2006.
  3. David Neumark & Wendy A. Stock, 1999. "Age Discrimination Laws and Labor Market Efficiency," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(5), pages 1081-1110, October.
  4. Thomas DeLeire, 2000. "The Wage and Employment Effects of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Working Papers 0008, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  5. Joni Hersch, 2006. "Demand for a Jury Trial and the Selection of Cases for Trial," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 119-142, 01.
  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. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 1998. "Consequences of Employment Protection? The Case of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Working papers 98-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Gomez-Salvador, Ramon & Messina, Julian & Vallanti, Giovanna, 2004. "Gross job flows and institutions in Europe," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 469-485, August.
  10. Adams, Scott J., 2004. "Age discrimination legislation and the employment of older workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 219-241, April.
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