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Age Discrimination, Job Separation, and Employment Status of Older Workers: Evidence from Self-Reports


  • Richard W. Johnson
  • David Neumark


This paper explores the prevalence and consequences of age discrimination in the workplace by analyzing self-reports of discrimination by respondents in the National Longitudinal Survey of Older Men. Age discrimination was reported in seven percent of our cases, during the period 1966-1980. Workers with positive reports were much more likely to separate from their employer and less likely to remain employed than workers who report no age discrimination. The estimated effect of reported discrimination remains large and significant even when controlling for the existence of mandatory retirement provisions on the current job. These findings are generally robust to numerous attempts to correct the estimates for the inherent limitations of self-reported data, particularly the potential heterogeneity bias that arises from differences in the propensity to report discrimination, and the possibility that discrimination is reported in response to other negative labor market outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard W. Johnson & David Neumark, 1996. "Age Discrimination, Job Separation, and Employment Status of Older Workers: Evidence from Self-Reports," NBER Working Papers 5619, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5619
    Note: LS

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bloch, Farrell, 1994. "Antidiscrimination Law and Minority Employment," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226059839, March.
    2. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1979. "Labor Market Dynamics and Unemployemnt: A Reconsideration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 10(1), pages 13-72.
    3. Ham, John C & Rea, Samuel A, Jr, 1987. "Unemployment Insurance and Male Unemployment Duration in Canada," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(3), pages 325-353, July.
    4. David Neumark & Michele McLennan, 1995. "Sex Discrimination and Women's Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(4), pages 713-740.
    5. Blau, David M, 1994. "Labor Force Dynamics of Older Men," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(1), pages 117-156, January.
    6. Kuhn, Peter J, 1990. "Sex Discrimination in Labor Markets: The Role of Statistical Evidence: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 290-297, March.
    7. Hurd, Michael D, 1990. "Research on the Elderly: Economic Status, Retirement, and Consumption and Saving," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 565-637, June.
    8. Joseph F. Quinn & Richard V. Burkhauser & Daniel A. Myers, 1990. "Passing the Torch: The Influence of Economic Incentives on Work and Retirement," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number pt, November.
    9. Hellerstein, Judith K & Neumark, David & Troske, Kenneth R, 1999. "Wages, Productivity, and Worker Characteristics: Evidence from Plant-Level Production Functions and Wage Equations," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(3), pages 409-446, July.
    10. Robert M. Hutchens, 1988. "Do Job Opportunities Decline with Age?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 42(1), pages 89-99, October.
    11. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-1284, December.
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    JEL classification:

    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing


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