Does prestige lead to discrimination in the labor market? Evidence from a labor market field experiment in three countries [post]

Georgiana Mihut
2021 unpublished
Do employers prioritize the name of the university someone graduated from above an applicant's skills in the employment process? 2,400 fictitious applications were submitted to IT and accounting job openings in three countries: United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. The resumes belonged to fictitious citizens, both female and male, that have attended universities of varying prestige in the respective countries. For each sector of the labor market, two resumes were designed. One resume
more » ... a high skills match with the generic requirements of entry level jobs in each sector. A second resume had a low skills match with the same requirements. For each country, one high-ranked university and one non-high-ranked university were selected to signal prestige. The name of the university the applicant graduated from and their sex were randomly assigned on otherwise identical resumes. This study distinguished between the effects of human capital from the effect of the name of the graduating university—while controlling for networking effects—in the hiring process. Human capital was statistically significant in predicting callbacks. Applications in the high skills match condition were 79% more likely to receive a callback than applications in the low skills match condition. The prestige condition, the interaction between university prestige and match, and sex were not statistically significant. These findings suggest that human capital, and not university prestige, predicts recruitment outcomes for applicants with a bachelor's degree only in skill intensive sectors of the labor market.
doi:10.31235/ fatcat:bklxplj2nnfpncl3cqlgf4zdey