Does Protecting Older Workers from Discrimination Make It Harder to Get Hired? Revised with Additional Analysis of SIPP Data and Appendix of Disability Laws

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Abstract

We explore the effects of disability discrimination laws on hiring of older workers. A concern with anti-discrimination laws is that they may reduce hiring by raising the cost of terminations and – in the specific case of disability discrimination laws – raising the cost of employment because of the need to accommodate disabled workers. Moreover, disability discrimination laws can affect nondisabled older workers because they are fairly likely to develop work-related disabilities, yet are not protected by these laws. Using state variation in disability discrimination protections, we find little or no evidence that stronger disability discrimination laws lower the hiring of nondisabled older workers. We similarly find no evidence of adverse effects of disability discrimination laws on hiring of disabled older workers.

Key Findings

  • Disability discrimination laws are likely to have a disproportionate impact on older workers, and could encourage or discourage hiring of older workers.
  • State variation in disability discrimination protections allows estimation of the effects of varying strength of disability discrimination protections on hiring of older (and other) workers.
  • State disability discrimination laws that use a broader definition of disability than the ADA appear to raise rather than reduce hiring of nondisabled older workers.
  • Stronger state disability protections reduce hiring of at least younger disabled workers.
  • There is no evidence of adverse effects of disability discrimination laws on older workers, and our best evidence points to positive effects on hiring of older workers, as does complementary evidence on stronger state protections against age discrimination.

Citation

Neumark, David, Joanne Song, and Patrick Button. 2014. “Does Protecting Older Workers from Discrimination Make It Harder to Get Hired? Revised with Additional Analysis of SIPP Data and Appendix of Disability Laws.” University of Michigan Retirement Research Center (MRRC) Working Paper, WP 2014-315. Ann Arbor, MI. http://mrdrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/papers/pdf/wp315.pdf

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Project

Paper ID

WP 2015-315

Publication Type

Working Paper

Publication Year

2015