Absence of conflict of interest.
The study’s objective was to examine the impact of age discrimination laws on the employment of older women. This profile focuses on the comparison for state age discrimination laws. The author investigated similar research questions for another contrast, the profile of which can be found here.
The study used a nonexperimental design using Current Population Survey (CPS) data to compare employment outcomes between older men and older women following the implementation of state age discrimination laws.
The study found a statistically significant relationship between state age discrimination laws and increasing employment outcomes for both men and women.
This study receives a moderate evidence rating. This means we are somewhat confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the state age discrimination laws, but other factors might also have contributed.
State age discrimination laws
Features of the Study
From 1964 to 1967, several states enacted age discrimination laws to protect workers aged 40-65. State age discrimination laws varied substantially in their scope and focus, but they were generally intended to reduce age discriminatory practices and increase employment rates of older workers. The study used a difference-in-differences model to compare employment outcomes before and after the implementation of state age discrimination laws for men and women. The author used states that enacted age discrimination laws in 1965 as the treatment group, while the remaining states served as the comparison group. Six states served as the treatment group and the remaining states (including the District of Columbia) comprised the comparison group. Using Current Population Survey (CPS) data, the author restricted the sample to white workers to avoid racial discrimination issues. The sample was approximately 60 percent employed, while retirement and unemployment rates were both between 3 to 4 percent. Of the unemployed population, 35 percent were female and living in a boundary of a city or non-metropolitan area. The author used statistical models to compare differences in outcomes between the treatment and comparison groups.
- The study found a statistically significant relationship between the state age discrimination laws and increased employment for both men and women. The probability of employment following the enactment of state age discrimination laws was higher for men than it was for women, although this finding was not statistically significant.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
Although the difference-in-differences model controlled for many sources of variation related to the outcomes of interest, the author acknowledged that older women may be more inclined to voluntarily leave the labor force compared to older men. The author attempted to reduce this effect by restricting the sample to unmarried individuals but went on to acknowledge that estimates from unmarried individuals during the time period examined were not a representative sample.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is moderate because it was based on a well-implemented nonexperimental design. This means we are somewhat confident that the estimated effects are attributable to state age discrimination laws, but other factors might also have contributed.