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Labor market discrimination of minorities? yes, but not in job offers


  • Bøg, Martin
  • Kranendonk, Erik


This paper presents evidence from a field experiment designed to evaluate the efficacy of anonymous application procedures. While the policy evaluation itself is of interest, more importantly the experiment provides a unique opportunity to detect race based differential treatment in a controlled market environment. Over a 6 month period we observe all applications sent in response to local public sector vacancies. We observe both the callback and the job oer decision. We compare decisions of recruiters when they can observe ethnic markers (control) with a treatment condition where ethnic markers are absent. We find a substantial differential in the callback decision. Interestingly, we do not find evidence for differential treatment in the job offer decision. A follow up experiment provides indications that recruiters respond strategically to the announcement of the results of the first experiment.

Suggested Citation

  • Bøg, Martin & Kranendonk, Erik, 2011. "Labor market discrimination of minorities? yes, but not in job offers," MPRA Paper 33332, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:33332

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
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    3. Stefan Eriksson & Jonas Lagerström, 2012. "Detecting discrimination in the hiring process: evidence from an Internet-based search channel," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 537-563, October.
    4. 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.
    5. Carlsson, Magnus & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2008. "Is It Your Foreign Name or Foreign Qualifications? An Experimental Study of Ethnic Discrimination in Hiring," IZA Discussion Papers 3810, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-895, October.
    7. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
    8. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 991-1013, September.
    9. Olof Åslund & Oskar Nordströum Skans, 2012. "Do Anonymous Job Application Procedures Level the Playing Field?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 65(1), pages 82-107, January.
    10. Lundberg, Shelly J & Startz, Richard, 1983. "Private Discrimination and Social Intervention in Competitive Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 340-347, June.
    11. Cecilia Rouse & Claudia Goldin, 2000. "Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of "Blind" Auditions on Female Musicians," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 715-741, September.
    12. Peter Norman, 2003. "Statistical Discrimination and Efficiency," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 615-627.
    13. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
    14. John A. List, 2004. "The Nature and Extent of Discrimination in the Marketplace: Evidence from the Field," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 49-89.
    15. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Annabelle Krause & Ulf Rinne & Klaus Zimmermann, 2012. "Anonymous job applications in Europe," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 1(1), pages 1-20, December.
    2. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo, 2016. "Field Experiments on Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 22014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Ulf Rinne, 2014. "Anonymous job applications and hiring discrimination," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 1-48, May.

    More about this item


    Field Experiment; Discrimination; Public Sector; Anonymous Application Procedures;

    JEL classification:

    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J78 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Public Policy (including comparable worth)
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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