Patrick Button (they/them or he/him) is an Associate Professor of Economics at Tulane University and the Executive Director of The Connolly Alexander Institute for Data Science.

They are also a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and an invited researcher with J-PAL North America.

Button primarily researches discrimination, focusing especially on age and disability, but also sexual orientation, gender identity, race, and ethnicity. They primarily study discrimination two ways:

(1) Audit (correspondence) field experiments

Button previously studied hiring discrimination against older workers using resume experiments, where they applied for jobs as younger and older workers to study age discrimination in hiring. They are currently researching sexual orientation and race discrimination in access to mortgages, and gender identity, race, ethnicity, and health insurance status discrimination in access to mental healthcare appointments.

(2) Determining the effects of discrimination laws

Button uses variation in time and across states in employment discrimination laws to see if those laws improve employment and hiring, primarily for older workers and individuals with disabilities. They also study how these discrimination laws affect Social Security Disability Insurance application. In current projects, Button will see if state laws extending discrimination protections to sexual orientation in the mortgage market, and pro- or anti-trans state laws, relate to discrimination measured in their audit correspondence field experiments that are currently in the field now.

In other research, Button quantified the (lack of) economic impacts of tax incentives for the film industry, by comparing filming location choice, employment, and business growth in the film industry and related industries after states adopted these aggressive subsidies.

Button's research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Aging, the Sloan Foundation, the Social Security Administration, the Haynes Foundation, and the Borchard Center for Law and Aging, among others.

Button joined IZA as a Research Affiliate in December 2017 and became an IZA Research Fellow in December 2023.


IZA Publications

IZA Discussion Paper No. 13506
Ian Burn, Patrick Button, Luis Munguia Corella, David Neumark
published as 'Does Ageist Language in Job Ads Predict Age Discrimination in Hiring?' in: Journal of Labor Economics, 2022, 40 (3), 613-667.