STEM and Teens: An Algorithm Bias on a Social Media

26 Pages Posted: 23 May 2018

See all articles by Grazia Cecere

Grazia Cecere

Institut Mines Telecom, Business School, LITEM

Clara Jean

Université Paris XI Sud

Fabrice Le Guel

Université Paris-Sud

Matthieu Manant

Université Paris XI Sud

Date Written: May 9, 2018

Abstract

We study whether online platforms might reproduce offline stereotypes of girls in the STEM disciplines, and if this bias can be reduced. For this purpose, we estimate ad distribution on a popular social media platform via a field experiment by setting up a randomized online ad campaign on behalf of a French computer science school. The ad campaign targeted students in high schools in France. The treatment aims to estimate whether a message aimed at prompting girls is displayed to girls more than to boys. The article contributes to work that aims to shed light on the possible biases generated by algorithms. Our results show that on average, girls are less likely to see the ad than boys; this difference in the number of impressions is not attributable to difference in ad costs between girls and boys. The treatment ad which was aimed to be shown to more girls had a crowding-out effect, since overall, it was displayed less to both boys and girls.

Keywords: Gender-gap, discrimination, algorithm bias, STEM education

JEL Classification: J16, I24

Suggested Citation

Cecere, Grazia and Jean, Clara and Le Guel, Fabrice and Manant, Matthieu, STEM and Teens: An Algorithm Bias on a Social Media (May 9, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3176168 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3176168

Grazia Cecere (Contact Author)

Institut Mines Telecom, Business School, LITEM ( email )

9, rue Charles Fourier
Évry, Ile de France 91011
France

Clara Jean

Université Paris XI Sud ( email )

15, rue Georges Clemenceau
Orsay cedex, 91405
France

Fabrice Le Guel

Université Paris-Sud ( email )

Faculté Jean-Monnet, 54, bd Desgranges
Sceaux, 92331
France

Matthieu Manant

Université Paris XI Sud ( email )

15, rue Georges Clemenceau
Orsay cedex, 91405
France

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