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Age Discrimination: an historical and contemporary analysis

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John Macnicol
Cambridge University Press (April 2006)

Age discrimination is a highly topical issue in all industrialised societies, against a background of concerns about shortening working lives and ageing populations in the future. Based upon detailed research, and adopting an interdisciplinary approach, this unique study traces the history of the age discrimination debate in Britain and the USA since the 1930s. It critically analyses the concepts of ageism in social relations and age discrimination in employment. Case-studies on generational equity and health care rationing by age are followed by an analysis of the British government's initiatives against age discrimination in employment. The book then traces the history of the debate on health status and old age, addressing the question of whether working capacity has improved sufficiently to justify calls to delay retirement and extend working lives. It concludes with a detailed examination of the origins and subsequent working of the USA's 1967 Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

  • In-depth analysis of a key current issue in social policy
  • A thorough critical study that will appeal across a wide range of social science disciplines
  • A comparative approach which places the issues and debates in their historical context

John Macnicol is a visiting professor at LSE's Department of Social Policy.

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Press cuttings

Don't let a bald pate throw you (8 Dec 06)
Employers must tread carefully as the new discrimination regulations kick in, especially when it comes to making assumptions about people's age based solely on what they look like. John Macnicol, visiting professor in social policy at LSE and author of a book on age discrimination, says that the full impact of the legislation is unlikely to become clear for some years as it will have to be tested in court.