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Discrimination in Hiring Based on Potential and Realized Fertility: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment

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  • Becker, Sascha O.

    (Monash University)

  • Fernandes, Ana

    (University of Bern)

  • Weichselbaumer, Doris

    (University of Linz)

Abstract

Due to conventional gender norms, women are more likely to be in charge of childcare than men. From an employer's perspective, in their fertile age they are also at "risk" of pregnancy. Both factors potentially affect hiring practices of firms. We conduct a large-scale correspondence test in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, sending out approx. 9,000 job applications, varying job candidate's personal characteristics such as marital status and age of children. We find evidence that, for part-time jobs, married women with older kids, who likely finished their childbearing cycle and have more projectable childcare chores than women with very young kids, are at a significant advantage vis-avis other groups of women. At the same time, married, but childless applicants, who have a higher likelihood to become pregnant, are at a disadvantage compared to single, but childless applicants to part-time jobs. Such effects are not present for full-time jobs, presumably, because by applying to these in contrast to part-time jobs, women signal that they have arranged for external childcare.

Suggested Citation

  • Becker, Sascha O. & Fernandes, Ana & Weichselbaumer, Doris, 2019. "Discrimination in Hiring Based on Potential and Realized Fertility: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 12308, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp12308
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Discrimination in Hiring Based on Potential and Realized Fertility: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2019-08-22 20:26:16

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    Cited by:

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    2. Rita Pető & Balázs Reizer, 2021. "Gender differences in the skill content of jobs," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 34(3), pages 825-864, July.
    3. Horváth Gergely, 2020. "The Impact of Marital Status on Job Finding: A Field Experiment in the Chinese Labor Market," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 20(4), pages 1-10, October.
    4. Birkelund, Gunn Elisabeth & Lancee, Bram & Larsen, Edvard Nergård & Polavieja, Javier G. & Radl, Jonas & Yemane, Ruta, 2021. "Gender Discrimination in Hiring: Evidence from a Cross-National Harmonized Field Experiment," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    5. Adamus, Magdalena & Mikušková, Eva Ballová, 2020. "Gender-based wage discrimination and the backlash effect in recruitment and dismissal processes Experimental evidence from Slovakia," OSF Preprints 4y6uc, Center for Open Science.
    6. Andersen, Signe Hald & Özcan, Berkay, 2021. "The effects of unemployment on fertility," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 109007, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    experimental economics; discrimination; fertility;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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