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Did Age Discrimination Protections Help Older Workers Weather the Great Recession?

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  • David Neumark
  • Patrick Button

Abstract

We examine whether stronger age discrimination laws at the state level moderated the impact of the Great Recession on older workers. We use a difference-in-difference-in-differences strategy to compare older workers in states with stronger and weaker laws, to their younger counterparts, both before, during, and after the Great Recession. We find very little evidence that stronger age discrimination protections helped older workers weather the Great Recession, relative to younger workers. The evidence sometimes points in the opposite direction, with stronger state age discrimination protections associated with more adverse effects of the Great Recession on older workers. We suggest that this may be because during an experience like the Great Recession, severe labor market disruptions make it difficult to discern discrimination, weakening the effects of stronger state age discrimination protections, or because higher termination costs associated with stronger age discrimination protections do more to deter hiring when future product and labor demand is highly uncertain.

Suggested Citation

  • David Neumark & Patrick Button, 2013. "Did Age Discrimination Protections Help Older Workers Weather the Great Recession?," NBER Working Papers 19216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19216
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kadija Charni, 2016. "The French Pension Reforms and their Impact on Unemployed Older Workers," AMSE Working Papers 1602, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised Jan 2016.
    2. David Neumark, 2016. "Experimental Research on Labor Market Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 22022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Fleck, Robert K. & Hanssen, F. Andrew, 2016. "Persistence and change in age-specific gender gaps: Hollywood actors from the silent era onward," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 36-49.
    4. David Neumark & Joanne Song & Patrick Button, 2015. "Does Protecting Older Workers from Discrimination Make It Harder to Get Hired? Revised with Additional Analysis of SIPP Data and Appendix of Disability Laws," Working Papers wp315, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    5. Sarah Le Duigou & Pierre-Jean Messe, 2017. "Pension reforms, older workers' employment and the role of job separation and finding rates in France," TEPP Working Paper 2017-10, TEPP.
    6. Trevisan, Elisabetta & Zantomio, Francesca, 2016. "The impact of acute health shocks on the labour supply of older workers: Evidence from sixteen European countries," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 171-185.
    7. repec:bla:econpa:v:35:y:2016:i:4:p:375-388 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Neumark, David & Button, Patrick, 2014. "Age discrimination and the Great Recession," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J78 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Public Policy (including comparable worth)

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