Is it sex or personality? The impact of sex-stereotypes on discrimination in applicant selection
This paper investigates whether differential treatment of men and women in the labor market is due to unobservable differences in productivity or if it is motivated by a taste for discrimination. While studies on sex-discrimination typically control for human capital (formal education, job-experience etc.), there is usually no information on personality traits available. We argue that personality might affect productivity just as human capital: For many traditionally male occupations (e.g. managers) stereotypically masculine characteristics - like being ambitious, competitive, dominant - seem to be required. On the other hand, stereotypically feminine characteristics - like being gentle, cheerful, friendly - are particularly acknowledged in traditionally female occupations (e.g. nurses). The central question of this paper is whether women are treated differently because "they are different" (they posses more "feminine" and less "masculine" personality traits on the average) or because they are discriminated against. To gather the necessary data a field experiment is conducted. Job applications of candidates, who are equivalent in their human capital but differ in sex and personality are sent out in response to various job advertisements. We found minor indicators that signaling a masculine personality slightly reduces unfavorable treatment of women in typically male professions; nevertheless discrimination in hiring prevails even after controlling for personality characteristics.
|Date of creation:||May 2000|
|Contact details of provider:|| Fax: +43 732-2468-8238|
Web page: http://www.econ.jku.at/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994.
"Beauty and the Labor Market,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-1194, December.
- Daniel S. Hamermesh & Jeff E. Biddle, 1993. "Beauty and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 4518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- David Neumark & Roy J. Bank & Kyle D. Van Nort, 1995. "Sex Discrimination in Restaurant Hiring: An Audit Study," NBER Working Papers 5024, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
- Peter A. Riach & Judith Rich, 1995. "An Investigation of Gender Discrimination in Labor Hiring," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 343-356, Summer.
- 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.
- Peter Riach & Judith Rich, 1991. "Testing for racial discrimination in the labour market," Natural Field Experiments 00327, The Field Experiments Website.
- 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.
- Joseph G. Altonji & Rebecca M. Blank, "undated". "Race and Gender in the Labor Market," IPR working papers 98-18, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
- 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.
- Susan Averett & Sanders Korenman, 1993. "The Economic Reality of the Beauty Myth," NBER Working Papers 4521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jerry M. Newman, 1978. "Discrimination in Recruitment: An Empirical Analysis," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 32(1), pages 15-23, October.
- Yinger, John, 1986. "Measuring Racial Discrimination with Fair Housing Audits: Caught in the Act," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 881-893, December.
- Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
- Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-661, September.
- Michael Firth, 1981. "Racial Discrimination in the British Labor Market," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(2), pages 265-272, January.
- Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:jku:econwp:2000_11. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (René Böheim)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.