Hiring discrimination : a field experiment in the French financial sector
Using correspondence testing, we investigate whether gender access gap in job interviews is due to different effects of present or future family responsibilities on expected productivity of male and female job applicants or if it is due to a taste for discrimination. We have sent job applications of three pairs of candidates to the same job advertisements in the French financial sector. Using three pairs of applicants, we compare the effect on the gender access gap to job interviews of a high probability of maternity/paternity (1) ; high family responsibilities (2) ; neither risk of maternity or family responsibility (3). Within each pair, the applicants' characteristics are similar except for their gender. We find significant discrimination against women with a high probability of maternity for highly qualified administrative jobs. In the other cases, unequal treatment between genders is not significant. So, controlling for female probability of maternity, we find no significant unequal treatment between genders. We conclude that female employment suffers more from their probability of maternity (and their anticipated career interruptions) than family responsibilities alone. So, statistical discrimination due to female probability of maternity exists on the French labour market. An appropriate economic policy may correct it by reducing firms' cost due to maternity leave.
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