Does Politics Influence Hiring? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment
- 743 Downloads
Do resumes with political “signals” make job applicants more or less likely to get hired? To test our theory that employers are more likely to hire like-minded partisans (and less likely to hire those of opposing partisan bents), we conduct a randomized experiment, sending out 1,200 politically branded resumes in response to help-wanted ads in two U.S. counties—one highly conservative and the other, highly liberal. In our pooled sample, we find that job seekers with minority partisan affiliations are statistically less likely to obtain a callback than candidates without any partisan affiliation. Meanwhile, applicants sharing the majority partisan affiliation are not significantly more likely to receive a callback than non-partisan candidates. These results suggest that individuals may sometimes place themselves at a disadvantage by including partisan cues on their resumes.
KeywordsEmployment Hiring Jobs Partisanship Bias Discrimination
We thank Mike Munger for advising us, William Connelly for his help in identifying research assistants, Art Goldsmith for his encouragement and feedback, Christopher DeSante and Timothy Ryan for donating their time to answer our questions, and the anonymous reviewers at Political Behavior for their helpful critiques. We also thank Andrew Bell, Sunshine Hillygus, Daniel Krcmaric, Chris Porter, and Erik Wibbels for their thoughtful support and comments. We are grateful to Greg Franke, Annelise Madison, and Tom Sanford for their research assistance. Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the 2014 Midwest Political Science Association Annual Meeting and Washington and Lee University’s “Economics of Social Problems” seminar. Thomas Gift acknowledges financial support from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program and the Duke Program for the Study of Democracy, Institutions, and Political Economy. Project approved under IRB Protocol No: A0725.
Experiments comply with the current laws of the country in which they were performed. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
- Acquisti, A., & Fong, C. M. (2013). An experiment in hiring discrimination via online social networks. Carnegie Mellon University Working Paper.Google Scholar
- Blank, R. M., Dabady, M., & Citro, C. F. (Eds.). (2004). Measuring racial discrimination. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A social critique of the judgment of taste. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Byrne, D. (1971). The attraction paradigm. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- Cross, H., Kenney, G., Mell, J., & Zimmerman, W. (1989). Differential treatment of hispanic and anglo job seekers: Hiring practices in two cities. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.Google Scholar
- Daniel, W. W. (1968). Racial discrimination in England. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin.Google Scholar
- Eriksson, S., & Rooth, D. (2011). Do employers use unemployment as a sorting criterion when hiring? Evidence from a Field Experiment. IZA Discussion Paper.Google Scholar
- Fiorina, Morris P., Abrams, S. J., & Poper, J. C. (2006). Culture war? The myth of polarized America (2nd ed.). New York: Pearson Longman.Google Scholar
- Fosse, E., Gross, N., & Ma, J. (2011). Political bias in the graduate admissions process: A field experiment. Harvard University Working Paper.Google Scholar
- Galston, W. A., & Nivola, P.S. (2006). The great divide: Polarization in American politics. The American Interest.Google Scholar
- Green, D., Palmquist, B., & Schickler, E. (2002). Partisan hearts & minds: Political parties and the social identities of voters. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Haidt, J. (2011, January 27). Lecture at the annual convention of the society for personality and social psychology. Available at http://www.edge.org/conversation/the-bright-future-of-post-partisan-social-psychology.
- Heckman, J., & Siegelman, P. (1992). The urban institute audit studies: Their methods and findings. In M. Fix & R. Struyk (Eds.), Clear and convincing evidence: Measurement of discrimination in america. Urban Institute: Washington, DC.Google Scholar
- King, A. S., Orlando, F. J., Sparks, D. B. (2012). Ideological extremity and primary success: A social network approach. Duke University Working Paper.Google Scholar
- Layman, G. (2001). The great divide: Religious and cultural conflicts in American party politics. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
- Lazarsfeld, P. F., & Merton, R. K. (1954). Friendship as a social process: A substantive and methodological analysis. In M. Berger, T. Abel, & C. H. Page (Eds.), Freedom and control in modern society. New York: Van Nostrand.Google Scholar
- Mann, T. E., & Ornstein, N. J. (2012). It’s even worse than it looks: How the American constitutional system collided with the new politics of extremism. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Norton, A. (1988). Reflections on political identity. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins.Google Scholar
- Pew Research Center. (June 4, 2012). Trends in American Values: 1987–2012, p. 25. Available at http://www.people-press.org/2012/06/04/partisan-polarization-surges-in-bush-obama-years/.
- Rothman, S. S., Lichter, R., & Nevitte, N. (2005). Politics and professional advancement among college faculty. The Forum, 3(1), Article 2.Google Scholar
- Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1985). The social identity theory of intergroup behavior. In S. Worchel & W. G. Austin (Eds.), Psychology of Intergroup Relations (Vol. 2). Chicago: Nelson-Hall.Google Scholar
- Wienk, R. E., Reid, C. E., Simonson, J. C., & Eggers, F. J. (1979). Measuring discrimination in American housing markets: The housing market practices survey. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.Google Scholar
- Yancey, G. (2011). Compromising scholarship: Religious and political bias in American higher education. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press.Google Scholar