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Is It Sex or Personality? The Impact of Sex Stereotypes on Discrimination in Applicant Selection

Author

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  • Doris Weichselbaumer

    () (University of Linz)

Abstract

This paper investigates whether women have less access to attractive, traditionally male jobs because their sex-stereotypical personality does not fit the job. If women as a group are assumed not to possess the required characteristics for a male occupation, they will not be hired for such jobs. In this study we contrast the labor outcomes of a woman who possesses the required masculine characteristics with those of a traditional female. If a woman can demonstrate that she does not correspond to her sex stereotype and in fact does have the stereotypical personality traits of a man, she should be treated like a man. A woman with identical human capital and personality should be equally productive as a man-no other conceivable variables might determine productivity apart from knowledge and personality traits. Consequently, she should receive equal treatment. If such an equal treatment is not observable, we argue, discrimination has been documented.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:30:y:2004:i:2:p:159-186
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1174-1194.
    2. David Neumark & Roy J. Bank & Kyle D. Van Nort, 1996. "Sex Discrimination in Restaurant Hiring: An Audit Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, pages 915-941.
    3. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, pages 101-116.
    4. 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.
    5. 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 239-256, September.
    6. Altonji, Joseph G. & Blank, Rebecca M., 1999. "Race and gender in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 48, pages 3143-3259 Elsevier.
    7. David Neumark & Roy J. Bank & Kyle D. Van Nort, 1996. "Sex Discrimination in Restaurant Hiring: An Audit Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, pages 915-941.
    8. Susan Averett & Sanders Korenman, 1996. "The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, pages 304-330.
    9. Jerry M. Newman, 1978. "Discrimination in Recruitment: An Empirical Analysis," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, pages 15-23.
    10. Yinger, John, 1986. "Measuring Racial Discrimination with Fair Housing Audits: Caught in the Act," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 881-893.
    11. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    12. repec:mes:postke:v:14:y:1991:i:2:p:143-150 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 659-661.
    14. Michael Firth, 1981. "Racial Discrimination in the British Labor Market," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, pages 265-272.
    15. Susan Averett & Sanders Korenman, 1996. "The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, pages 304-330.
    16. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1174-1194.
    17. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Discrimination;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income

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