Study using fake resumes shows widespread age discrimination In the largest study of its kind, a trio of economists found “compelling evidence” that older workers, especially women, experience age discrimination in hiring, according to a summary of the research published Monday by the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank.
The researchers created more than 40,000 fake resumes that were identical except for age and gender and submitted them online for more than 13,000 mostly lower-skilled jobs. The report comes when the percentage of the U.S. adult population age 65 and older is projected to rise sharply, which will increase the ratio of non-workers to workers and strain the Social Security system.
Policy efforts to improve the system’s solvency have focused on encouraging seniors to work longer by changing Social Security benefits, such as by reducing benefits for those who start claiming them at age 62. “If they work longer, they pay more Social Security taxes,” said lead author David Neumark, an economics professor at UC Irvine and visiting scholar at the San Francisco Fed. […] “if businesses don’t respond to the policy-induced larger labor supply by hiring older workers, it could lead to even harsher policy reforms for seniors,” the report says.
The researchers sent female resumes to openings for secretaries and administrative assistants and male resumes to help-wanted ads for janitors and security jobs. Low-skilled jobs were chosen because employers are more likely to be familiar with applicants for high-skilled jobs and ignore ersatz ones.
“Across all five sets of job applications, the callback rate was higher for younger applicants and lower for older applicants, consistent with age discrimination in hiring,” the report said. “Our field experiment provides compelling evidence that older workers experience age discrimination in hiring in the lower-skilled types of jobs,” the report said.
After Cobra coverage under her previous employer’s plan ran out, she was able to purchase individual health insurance because the Affordable Care Act forbids insurance companies from denying coverage or charging more because of pre-existing conditions. Proposals to shore up Social Security by encouraging longer careers include increasing the so-called full retirement age (from 66 to 67 for people born since 1943), reducing benefits for those who claim them before age 62 and eliminating the retirement earnings test.
The federal Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. […] “employers might expect older workers to have health problems, which could raise absenteeism or pose accommodation costs.” […] employers might expect that older workers would be near retirement, and be less willing to invest in them.