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

We design and implement a large-scale resume correspondence study to address limitations of existing field experiments testing for age discrimination that may bias their results. One limitation that may bias results is giving older and younger applicants similar experience to make them “otherwise comparable.” A second limitation is that greater unobserved differences in human capital investment of older applicants may bias the results against finding age discrimination. On the basis of over 40,000 job applications, we find robust evidence of age discrimination in hiring against older women, especially those near retirement age, but considerably less evidence of age discrimination against men.