November 2011

IZA DP No. 6100: Anonymous Job Applications of Fresh Ph.D. Economists

published in: Economics Letters, 2012, 117 (2), 441-444 [Open Access]

Discrimination in recruitment decisions is well documented. Anonymous job applications may reduce discriminatory behavior in hiring. This paper analyzes the potential of this approach in a randomized experiment with fresh Ph.D. economists on the academic job market using data from a European-based economic research institution. If included in the treatment group, characteristics such as name, gender, age, contact details and nationality were removed. Results show that anonymous job applications are in general not associated with a higher or lower probability to receive an invitation for a job interview. However, we find that while female applicants have a higher probability to receive an interview invitation than male applicants with standard applications, this difference disappears with anonymous job applications. We furthermore present evidence that certain professional signals are weighted differently with and without anonymization.