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Do Employers Discriminate by Gender? A Field Experiment in Female-Dominated Occupations


  • Alison Booth
  • Andrew Leigh


We test for gender discrimination by sending fake CVs to apply for entry-level jobs. Female candidates are more likely to receive a callback, with the difference being largest in occupations that are more female-dominated.

Suggested Citation

  • Alison Booth & Andrew Leigh, 2010. "Do Employers Discriminate by Gender? A Field Experiment in Female-Dominated Occupations," CEPR Discussion Papers 632, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:632

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Riach Peter A & Rich Judith, 2006. "An Experimental Investigation of Sexual Discrimination in Hiring in the English Labor Market," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-22, January.
    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, vol. 111(3), pages 915-941.
    3. Manuel F. Bagues & Berta Esteve-Volart, 2010. "Can Gender Parity Break the Glass Ceiling? Evidence from a Repeated Randomized Experiment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1301-1328.
    4. 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.
    5. Riach, Peter A & Rich, Judith, 1987. "Testing for Sexual Discrimination in the Labour Market," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(49), pages 165-178, December.
    6. Peter A. Riach & Judith Rich, 2004. "Deceptive Field Experiments of Discrimination: Are they Ethical?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 457-470, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eva O. Arceo-Gomez & Raymundo M. Campos-Vazquez, 2014. "Race and Marriage in the Labor Market: A Discrimination Correspondence Study in a Developing Country," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 376-380, May.
    2. Manuel Bagues & Mauro Sylos-Labini & Natalia Zinovyeva, 2017. "Does the Gender Composition of Scientific Committees Matter?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(4), pages 1207-1238, April.
    3. Anthony Edo & Nicolas Jacquemet & Constantine Yannelis, 2013. "Language Skills and Homophilous Hiring Discrimination: Evidence from Gender- and Racially-Differentiated Applications," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 13058, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    4. Baert, Stijn & Norga, Jennifer & Thuy, Yannick & Van Hecke, Marieke, 2016. "Getting grey hairs in the labour market. An alternative experiment on age discrimination," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 86-101.
    5. Piopiunik, Marc & Schwerdt, Guido & Simon, Lisa & Woessmann, Ludger, 2018. "Skills, Signals, and Employability: An Experimental Investigation," IZA Discussion Papers 11283, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Booth, Alison L. & Leigh, Andrew & Varganova, Elena, 2010. "Does Racial and Ethnic Discrimination Vary Across Minority Groups? Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 4947, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Stijn Baert & Ann-Sophie De Pauw & Nick Deschacht, 2016. "Do Employer Preferences Contribute to Sticky Floors?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 69(3), pages 714-736, May.
    8. De Paola, Maria & Ponzo, Michela & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2016. "Are Men Given Priority for Top Jobs? Investigating the Glass Ceiling in the Italian Academia," IZA Discussion Papers 9658, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Booth, Alison L., 2009. "Gender and competition," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 599-606, December.
    10. Finseraas, Henning & Johnsen, Åshild A. & Kotsadam, Andreas & Torsvik, Gaute, 2016. "Exposure to female colleagues breaks the glass ceiling—Evidence from a combined vignette and field experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 363-374.
    11. Kübler, Dorothea & Schmid, Julia & Stüber, Robert, 2017. "Be a man or become a nurse: Comparing gender discrimination by employers across a wide variety of professions," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Behavior SP II 2017-201, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    12. Margaret Maurer-Fazio & Lei Lei, 2015. "“As rare as a panda”: How facial attractiveness, gender, and occupation affect interview callbacks at Chinese firms," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 36(1), pages 68-85, April.
    13. Baert, Stijn, 2017. "Hiring Discrimination: An Overview of (Almost) All Correspondence Experiments Since 2005," IZA Discussion Papers 10738, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Edo, Anthony & Toubal, Farid, 2017. "Immigration and the gender wage gap," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 196-214.
    15. Natalia Zinovyeva & Manuel F. Bagues, 2010. "Does gender matter for academic promotion? Evidence from a randomized natural experiment," Working Papers 2010-15, FEDEA.
    16. Marc Piopiunik & Guido Schwerdt & Lisa Simon & Ludger Wößmann, 2018. "Skills, Signals, and Employability: An Experimental Investigation," CESifo Working Paper Series 6858, CESifo Group Munich.
    17. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo, 2016. "Field Experiments on Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 22014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. repec:cep:cverdp:012 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Solomon W. Polachek, 2014. "Equal pay legislation and the gender wage gap," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 1-16, May.
    20. Zhou, Xiangyi & Zhang, Jie & Song, Xuetao, 2013. "Gender Discrimination in Hiring: Evidence from 19,130 Resumes in China," MPRA Paper 43543, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Thomas Breda & Son Thierry Ly, 2012. "Do Professors Really Perpetuate the Gender Gap in Science? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in a French Higher Education Institution," CEE Discussion Papers 0138, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
    22. Lucifora, Claudio & Vigani, Daria, 2016. "What If Your Boss Is a Woman? Work Organization, Work-Life Balance and Gender Discrimination at the Workplace," IZA Discussion Papers 9737, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    discrimination; field experiments; employment; gender;

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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