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Implicit Discrimination in Hiring: Real World Evidence

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  • Rooth, Dan-Olof

    (Stockholm University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2007. "Implicit Discrimination in Hiring: Real World Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2764, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2764
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
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    6. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
    7. 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.
    8. Olof Åslund & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2005. "Shifts in attitudes and labor market discrimination: Swedish experiences after 9-11," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 18(4), pages 603-629, November.
    9. 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;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 16(4), pages 787-814, November.
    10. 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.
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    Cited by:

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    2. Jens Agerström & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2009. "Implicit prejudice and ethnic minorities: Arab-Muslims in Sweden," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 30(1/2), pages 43-55, March.
    3. Berson, Clémence & Laouénan, Morgane & Valat, Emmanuel, 2020. "Outsourcing recruitment as a solution to prevent discrimination: A correspondence study," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).
    4. Willard, Greg & Isaac, Kyonne-Joy & Carney, Dana R., 2015. "Some evidence for the nonverbal contagion of racial bias," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 96-107.
    5. Arouri, Mohamed & Ben-Youssef, Adel & Nguyen, Cuong Viet, 2019. "Ethnic and racial disparities in children's education: Comparative evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Viet Nam," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 503-514.
    6. Edoardo Gallo & Thomas Grund & J. James Reade, 2013. "Punishing the Foreigner: Implicit Discrimination in the Premier League Based on Oppositional Identity," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 75(1), pages 136-156, February.
    7. Jerry Kang & Nilanjana Dasgupta & Kumar Yogeeswaran & Gary Blasi, 2010. "Are Ideal Litigators White? Measuring the Myth of Colorblindness," Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 7(4), pages 886-915, December.
    8. Lori Beaman & Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo & Rohini Pande & Petia Topalova, 2009. "Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1497-1540.
    9. Leping, Kristian-Olari & Toomet, Ott, 2008. "Emerging ethnic wage gap: Estonia during political and economic transition," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 599-619, December.
    10. Arouri, Mohamed & Ben-Youssef, Adel & Nguyen, Cuong Viet, 2019. "Ethnic and racial disparities in children's education: Comparative evidence from Ethiopia, India, Peru and Viet Nam," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 503-514.
    11. Kevin Lang & Jee-Yeon K. Lehmann, 2012. "Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market: Theory and Empirics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(4), pages 959-1006, December.
    12. Cuong Viet Nguyen & Tuyen Quang Tran & Huong Vu, 2017. "Ethnic Minorities in Northern Mountains of Vietnam: Employment, Poverty and Income," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 134(1), pages 93-115, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    implicit attitudes and stereotypes; exit from unemployment; discrimination; situation testing;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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