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Implicit Discrimination in Hiring: Real World Evidence

  • Rooth, Dan-Olof

    ()

    (Linnaeus University)

This is the first study providing evidence of a new form of discrimination, implicit discrimination, acting in real economic life. In a two-stage field experiment we first measure the difference in callbacks for interview for applicants with Arab/Muslim sounding names compared to applicants with Swedish sounding names using the correspondence testing methodology. In the second stage of the experiment we measure, for a sample of the recruiters involved, their explicit and implicit attitudes/performance stereotypes by the means of explicit questions and the implicit association test (IAT). We find (i) only weak correlations between explicit attitudes/performance stereotypes and implicit performance stereotypes but (ii) a strong and statistically significant negative correlation between the implicit performance stereotypes and the callback rate for an interview for applicants with Arab/Muslim sounding names, but not for applicants with Swedish sounding names. These results indicate that implicit discrimination acts differently compared to explicit discrimination and that it is an important determinant of the hiring process.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2764.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as "Automatic associations and discrimination in hiring: Real world evidence" in: Labour Economics, 2010, 17 (3), 523-534
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2764
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  1. Carlsson, Magnus & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2007. "Evidence of ethnic discrimination in the Swedish labor market using experimental data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 716-729, August.
  2. Yona Rubinstein & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED Testing Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 145-149, May.
  3. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-94, December.
  4. 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.
  5. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
  6. Dan-Olof Rooth & Jan Ekberg, 2003. "Unemployment and earnings for second generation immigrants in Sweden. Ethnic background and parent composition," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 787-814, November.
  7. P. A. Riach & J. Rich, 2002. "Field Experiments of Discrimination in the Market Place," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 480-518, November.
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