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First depressed, then discriminated against?

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  • Baert, Stijn
  • De Visschere, Sarah
  • Schoors, Koen
  • Vandenberghe, Désirée
  • Omey, Eddy

Abstract

Each year a substantial share of the European population suffers from major depression. This mental illness may affect individuals’ later life outcomes indirectly by the stigma it inflicts. The present study assesses hiring discrimination based on disclosed depression. To this end, between May 2015 and July 2015, we sent out 288 trios of job applications from fictitious candidates to real vacancies in Belgium. Within each trio, one candidate claimed to have become unemployed only recently, whereas the other two candidates revealed former depression or no reason at all for their unemployment during a full year. Disclosing a year of inactivity due to former depression decreases the probability of getting a job interview invitation by about 34% when compared with candidates who just became unemployed, but the stigma effect of a year of depression is not significantly higher than the stigma effect of a year of unexplained unemployment. In addition, we found that these stigmas of depression and unemployment were driven by our male trios of fictitious candidates. As a consequence, our results are in favour of further research on gender heterogeneity in the stigma of depression and other health impairments.

Suggested Citation

  • Baert, Stijn & De Visschere, Sarah & Schoors, Koen & Vandenberghe, Désirée & Omey, Eddy, 2016. "First depressed, then discriminated against?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 247-254.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:170:y:2016:i:c:p:247-254
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.06.033
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    Cited by:

    1. L'Horty, Yannick & Mahmoudi, Naomie & Petit, Pascale & Wolff, François-Charles, 2022. "Is disability more discriminatory in hiring than ethnicity, address or gender? Evidence from a multi-criteria correspondence experiment," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 303(C).
    2. Sterkens, Philippe & Baert, Stijn & Rooman, Claudia & Derous, Eva, 2021. "As if it weren’t hard enough already: Breaking down hiring discrimination following burnout," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 43(C).
    3. Emmanuel Duguet & Rémi Le Gall & Yannick L’Horty & Pascale Petit, 2018. "How does labour market history influence the access to hiring interviews?," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, vol. 39(4), pages 519-533, July.
    4. Sharipova, Adelina & Baert, Stijn, 2019. "Labour Market Outcomes for Cancer Survivors: A Review of the Reviews," IZA Discussion Papers 12856, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Van Belle, Eva & Caers, Ralf & De Couck, Marijke & Di Stasio, Valentina & Baert, Stijn, 2017. "Why Is Unemployment Duration a Sorting Criterion in Hiring?," IZA Discussion Papers 10876, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Namingit, Sheryll & Blankenau, William & Schwab, Benjamin, 2021. "Sick and tell: A field experiment analyzing the effects of an illness-related employment gap on the callback rate," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 185(C), pages 865-882.
    7. Margaret Maurer-Fazio & Sili Wang, 2018. "Does marital status affect how firms interpret job applicants’ un/employment histories?," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, vol. 39(4), pages 567-580, July.
    8. Baert, Stijn, 2017. "Hiring Discrimination: An Overview of (Almost) All Correspondence Experiments Since 2005," GLO Discussion Paper Series 61, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    9. Maryam Dilmaghani, 2022. "The link between smoking, drinking and wages: Health, workplace social capital or discrimination?," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(2), pages 160-183, March.
    10. Bjørnshagen, Vegar, 2021. "The mark of mental health problems. A field experiment on hiring discrimination before and during COVID-19," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 283(C).
    11. Philippe Sterkens & Stijn Baert & Claudia Rooman & Eva Derous, 2020. "As if it weren’t hard enough already: Breaking down hiring discrimination following burnout A causal machine learning evaluation of training in Belgium," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 20/1000, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Belgium; Health; Depression; Hiring discrimination; Field experiments;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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