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See detailA Study of Hiring Discrimination Using Factorial Survey Experiments: Theoretical and Methodological Insights
Gutfleisch, Tamara Rebecca UL

Doctoral thesis (2021)

This dissertation provides new insights into the study of hiring discrimination related to three dimensions of inequality: gender, ethnicity, and unemployment. Scholars within sociology of work and labor ... [more ▼]

This dissertation provides new insights into the study of hiring discrimination related to three dimensions of inequality: gender, ethnicity, and unemployment. Scholars within sociology of work and labor economics widely agree that hiring discrimination based on these dimensions exists. However, the question of who is most affected beyond the classical look at single dimensions is less clear, as are the conditions under which hiring discrimination occurs. Focusing on young labor market entrants, I address these questions with two empirical studies using factorial survey experiments. First, I study how applicants’ gender and unemployment interactively shape recruiters’ hiring intentions in sex-segregated occupations. Second, I study the role of recruiter nationality in hiring discrimination against foreigners in Luxembourg. Moreover, while factorial surveys are increasingly applied in the study of hiring discrimination, they have been criticized for exhibiting low external validity. This dissertation empirically addresses how to overcome this criticism by improving the design of factorial surveys currently applied in employer studies. Specifically, I study whether designs based on real vacancies trigger more valid judgements compared to designs based on hypothetical vacancies. Overall, the findings of this dissertation support the relevance of hiring discrimination for labor market inequalities related to gender, ethnicity, and unemployment, but suggest that the mechanisms underlying hiring discrimination related to these dimensions are more nuanced. First, this dissertation suggests that occupational sex segregation might matter for how unemployment shapes recruiters’ hiring intentions towards men and women. Second, while foreign applicants might generally have better hiring chances if the recruiter is foreign, foreign applicants having the same nationality as the recruiter might benefit less from this situation. Finally, this dissertation provides first evidence that using hypothetical vacancies constitutes a valid approach to study recruiter decision-making within the limits of factorial surveys. [less ▲]

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