Is it sex or personality? The impact of sex-stereotypes on discrimination in applicant selection
AbstractThis paper investigates whether differential treatment of men and women in the labor market is due to unobservable differences in productivity or if it is motivated by a taste for discrimination. While studies on sex-discrimination typically control for human capital (formal education, job-experience etc.), there is usually no information on personality traits available. We argue that personality might affect productivity just as human capital: For many traditionally male occupations (e.g. managers) stereotypically masculine characteristics - like being ambitious, competitive, dominant - seem to be required. On the other hand, stereotypically feminine characteristics - like being gentle, cheerful, friendly - are particularly acknowledged in traditionally female occupations (e.g. nurses). The central question of this paper is whether women are treated differently because "they are different" (they posses more "feminine" and less "masculine" personality traits on the average) or because they are discriminated against. To gather the necessary data a field experiment is conducted. Job applications of candidates, who are equivalent in their human capital but differ in sex and personality are sent out in response to various job advertisements. We found minor indicators that signaling a masculine personality slightly reduces unfavorable treatment of women in typically male professions; nevertheless discrimination in hiring prevails even after controlling for personality characteristics.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria in its series Economics working papers with number 2000-11.
Date of creation: May 2000
Date of revision:
sex-discrimination; matching process; experimental economics; economic psychology;
Other versions of this item:
- Doris Weichselbaumer, 2004. "Is It Sex or Personality? The Impact of Sex Stereotypes on Discrimination in Applicant Selection," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 159-186, Spring.
- C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
- J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
- J70 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - General
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
- David Neumark & Roy J. Bank & Kyle D. Van Nort, 1995.
"Sex Discrimination in Restaurant Hiring: An Audit Study,"
NBER Working Papers
5024, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Neumark, David, 1996. "Sex Discrimination in Restaurant Hiring: An Audit Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 915-41, August.
- Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993.
"Beauty and the Labor Market,"
NBER Working Papers
4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Joseph G. Altonji & Rebecca M. Blank, .
"Race and Gender in the Labor Market,"
IPR working papers
98-18, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
- Susan Averett & Sanders Korenman, 1996.
"The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth,"
Journal of Human Resources,
University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 304-330.
- Jerry M. Newman, 1978. "Discrimination in recruitment: An empirical analysis," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 32(1), pages 15-23, October.
- Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
- Peter A. Riach & Judith Rich, 1995. "An Investigation of Gender Discrimination in Labor Hiring," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 343-356, Summer.
- Riach, Peter A & Rich, Judith, 1991. "Testing for Racial Discrimination in the Labour Market," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 239-56, September.
- Michael Firth, 1981. "Racial discrimination in the British labor market," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(2), pages 265-272, January.
- Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ren� B�heim).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.