Age Discrimination Tends to Increase During Economic Recessions

Age Discrimination across the Business Cycle

Two separate analyses were conducted to examine whether age discrimination becomes more prevalent during economic recessions. The first analysis, using confidential EEOC data, found that during periods of higher unemployment, there was a 3.3% increase in age-related firing charges and a 1.6% increase in age-related hiring charges. The second analysis, based on hiring correspondence studies conducted during the recovery from the Great Recession, revealed that as local unemployment rates rose, older women experienced a 15% reduction in callback rates compared to younger women.

Dahl, Gordon B., and Matthew Knepper. 2023. “Age Discrimination across the Business Cycle.” American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 15 (4): 75-112.


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