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Culture as a Hiring Criterion: Systemic Discrimination in a Procedurally Fair Hiring Process


  • Meurs, Dominique
  • Puhani, Patrick A.


Criteria used in hiring workers often do not reflect the skills required on the job. By comparing trainee performance for newly hired workers conditional on competitive civil service examination scores for hiring French public sector workers, we test whether women and men with the same civil service examination score exhibit similar performance in a job-related trainee programme. Both the civil service examination and trainee scores contain anonymous and non-anonymous components that we observe separately. We find that by the end of the trainee programme (first year of employment), women are outperforming men on both anonymous written and non-anonymous oral evaluations, a finding that holds both conditionally and unconditionally for the civil service examination results. According to further analysis, however, it is the anonymously graded "essay on common culture" civil service examination that, unlike the other CSE components, disadvantages women in this particular context.

Suggested Citation

  • Meurs, Dominique & Puhani, Patrick A., 2021. "Culture as a Hiring Criterion: Systemic Discrimination in a Procedurally Fair Hiring Process," GLO Discussion Paper Series 792, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:792

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    recruitment; disparate impact; systemic discrimination; audit;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions

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