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Evidence of Unequal Treatment in Hiring against Obese Applicants: A Field Experiment

  • Rooth, Dan-Olof

    ()

    (Linnaeus University)

This study presents evidence of recruitment discrimination against obese individuals in Sweden by sending fictitious applications to real job openings. Otherwise identical applications were randomly assigned a portrait photograph of an obese or a normalweight job applicant. Applications with an obese applicant receive twenty percent fewer callbacks for an interview. It is also found that discrimination is the same against men and women and that it varies across occupations in a systematic way in that firms hiring employees in occupations with more customer contact discriminate more. The tentative conclusion is that customer discrimination and/or statistical discrimination based on the correlation between job performance and being obese is the explanation. Also, opposite to what is expected, register data show that the share of obese employees is higher in occupations were discrimination is found to be higher.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp2775.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2775.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: May 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2775
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  1. Carlsson, Magnus & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2006. "Evidence of Ethnic Discrimination in the Swedish Labor Market Using Experimental Data," IZA Discussion Papers 2281, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Susan Averett & Sanders Korenman, 1996. "The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 304-330.
  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. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  5. d'Hombres, Beatrice & Brunello, Giorgio, 2005. "Does Obesity Hurt Your Wages More in Dublin than in Madrid? Evidence from ECHP," IZA Discussion Papers 1704, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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