Is it Harder for Older Workers to Find Jobs? New and Improved Evidence from a Field Experiment

51 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2015

See all articles by David Neumark

David Neumark

University of California, Irvine - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Ian Burn

Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)

Patrick Button

Tulane University, Department of Economics

Date Written: October 2015

Abstract

We design and implement a large-scale field experiment – a resume correspondence study – to address a number of potential limitations of existing field experiments testing for age discrimination, which may bias their results. One limitation that may bias these studies towards finding discrimination is the practice of giving older and younger applicants similar experience in the job to which they are applying, making them “otherwise comparable.” The second limitation arises because greater unobserved differences in human capital investment of older applicants may bias existing field experiments against finding age discrimination. We also study ages closer to retirement than in past studies, and use a richer set of job profiles for older workers to test for differences associated with transitions to less demanding jobs (“bridge jobs”) at older ages. Based on evidence from over 40,000 job applications, we find robust evidence of age discrimination in hiring against older women, especially those near retirement age. But we find that there is considerably less evidence of age discrimination against men after correcting for the potential biases this study addresses.

Suggested Citation

Neumark, David and Burn, Ian and Button, Patrick, Is it Harder for Older Workers to Find Jobs? New and Improved Evidence from a Field Experiment (October 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21669. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2679708

David Neumark (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - Department of Economics ( email )

3151 Social Science Plaza
Irvine, CA 92697-5100
United States
949-824-8496 (Phone)
949-824-2182 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.socsci.uci.edu/~dneumark/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Ian Burn

Stockholm University - Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI) ( email )

Kyrkgatan 43B
SE-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://ianburn.com

Patrick Button

Tulane University, Department of Economics ( email )

New Orleans, LA 70118
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.patrickbutton.com

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