Age Discrimination and Working Life: Perspectives and Contestations a Review of the Contemporary Literature

18 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2008

See all articles by Geoffrey Wood

Geoffrey Wood

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Adrian J. Wilkinson

Griffith University

Mark Harcourt

University of Waikato

Abstract

This review highlights some of the principal issues and debates surrounding age discrimination at the workplace. Essentially, the existing research in this area can be divided into three broad, although somewhat overlapping, categories. The first explores the underlying causes and consequences of age discrimination at the workplace from one or other theoretical tradition. The second broad body of literature encompasses empirical studies which document the nature and extent of age discrimination, based on the use of official statistics, and/or firm-level survey evidence. The third explores the effects of various governmental initiatives to reduce the incidence of age discrimination and policy options in this area. Even though age discrimination is widely accepted to be prevalent, its causes are rather more contentious. Age discrimination has variously been ascribed to market imperfections, the product of rational choices and the effects of long-term changes in the nature of the economy. Policy interventions may be prompted by economic pressure, demographic changes or cultural shifts, and have involved voluntary codes as well as legislation. Although voluntary codes have generally proved ineffective, the literature indicates that more formal regulations may still have only limited efficacy, underscoring the deeply rooted nature of age discrimination in society.

Suggested Citation

Wood, Geoffrey and Wilkinson, Adrian J. and Harcourt, Mark, Age Discrimination and Working Life: Perspectives and Contestations a Review of the Contemporary Literature. International Journal of Management Reviews, Vol. 10, Issue 4, pp. 425-442, December 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1301209 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2370.2008.00236.x

Geoffrey Wood (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield - School of Management ( email )

9 Mappin Street
Sheffield, S1 4DT
United Kingdom
0114 22 23346 (Phone)

Adrian J. Wilkinson

Griffith University ( email )

Business School
Nathan
Brisbane 4111, Queensland
Australia
61 (0)7 37356792 (Phone)

Mark Harcourt

University of Waikato ( email )

Te Raupapa
Private Bag 3105
Hamilton, 3240
New Zealand

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