Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Gender Bias in Job Referrals: An Experimental Test

Beugnot, Julie and Peterlé, Emmanuel (2018): Gender Bias in Job Referrals: An Experimental Test.

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Employee referral programs, while efficient for the employer, have been shown to amplify sex-based occupational segregation in the labour markets. We present evidence from a laboratory experiment designed to shed light on same-gender bias in job referrals within gender-balanced networks. Our data suggest that women tend to favor women in their referral choice, whereas men do not attach much importance to the gender of potential candidates. Our experimental design allows us to disentangle between statistical discrimination, preferences, and pure same-gender bias. Our findings add to the existing literature by highlighting that gendered networks alone do not explain the observed gender homophily in referred-referrer pairs.

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