Do State Laws Protecting Older Workers from Discrimination Reduce Age Discrimination in Hiring? Evidence from a Field Experiment
We provide evidence from a field experiment in all 50 states on age discrimination in hiring for retail sales jobs. We relate measured age discrimination – the difference in callback rates between old and young applicants – to state variation in anti-discrimination laws protecting older workers. Anti-discrimination laws could boost hiring, although they could have the unintended consequence of deterring hiring if their main effect is to increase termination costs. We find some evidence that there is less discrimination against older men and women in states where age discrimination law allows larger damages, and some evidence that there is lower discrimination against older women in states where disability discrimination law allows larger damages. But this evidence is not robust to all of the estimations we consider. However, we reach a robust conclusion that stronger or broader laws protecting older workers from discrimination do not have the unintended consequence of deterring their hiring.
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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25369