Obesity, Attractiveness, and Differential Treatment in Hiring: A Field Experiment
This study presents evidence of differential treatment in the hiring of obese individuals in the Swedish labor market. Fictitious applications were sent to real job openings. The applications were sent in pairs, where one facial photo of an otherwise identical applicant was manipulated to show the individual as obese. Applications sent with the weight-manipulated photo had a significantly lower callback response for an interview: Six percentage points lower for men and eight percentage points lower for women. This differential treatment occurs differently for men and women: The results for men are driven by attractiveness, while the results for women are driven by obesity.
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