Age Discrimination in Hiring Decisions –
A Comparison of Germany and Norway
– Age Discrimination –
Victoria Büsch,*1 Svenn-Åge Dahl,2
and Dennis A.V. Dittrich3
The workforce in all industrialized countries is aging. To forecast future challenges,
it is important to understand the impact of a worker’s age on the labor market. In this
paper, we analyze whether older workers in Germany and Norway are treated differ-
ently in the hiring process. Students and personnel managers from both countries an-
swered a questionnaire regarding the evaluation of three different applicants with
varying age specifications and the respective hiring decisions. The investigation
clearly shows that in Germany older applicants have a much lower hiring probability.
In Norway, age does play a smaller role in hiring decisions.
JEL classification: J14, J23, J71
Keywords: Age discrimination, older workers, labor market
Acknowledgments. We would like to thank one anonymous personnel manager as well as seminar
participants for useful and constructive comments given on several occasions. Financial support from
the Research Council of Norway (the Programme on Welfare Research), the Ruhrgas Foundation and
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin is gratefully acknowledged. The usual disclaimer applies.
* Correspondings author.
1 Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institut für Finanzwissenschaft, Spandauer Str. 1, D-10178 Berlin,
GERMANY. Tel.: +49 (0)30 2093 5627, Fax: +49 (0)30 2093 5726, E-mail: Buesch@wiwi.hu-
2 Institute for Research in Economics and Business Administration (SNF), Breiviksveien 40, N-5045
Bergen, NORWAY. Tel.: +47 55 95 95 04, Fax.: +47 55 95 49 39. E-mail: SvennAage.Dahl@snf.no
3 Max Planck Institute for Research into Economic Systems, Strategic Interaction Group, Kahlaische
Strasse 10, D-07745 Jena, GERMANY. Tel.: +49 (0)3641 686 640, Fax: +49 (0)3641 686 667, E-