Can Social Media Lead to Labor Market Discrimination? Evidence from a Field Experiment

22 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2019

See all articles by Matthieu Manant

Matthieu Manant

Université Paris XI Sud

Serge Pajak

Université Paris XI Sud - Faculty Jean Monnet

Nicolas Soulié

University of Paris- Sud 11

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: Summer 2019

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the role of social media as a source of information for recruiters to discriminate applicants. We set up a field experiment over a 12‐month period, involving more than 800 applications from two fictitious applicants which differed in their perceived origins, which is an information available only from their Facebook profiles. During the experiment, an unexpected change in the Facebook layout reduced the salience of the information available on social media profiles. Before this change, a significant 41.7% gap between the two applicants callback rates highlights that personal online profiles are used by recruiters as a source of information to discriminate against applicants of foreign origin. After the layout change that mitigates our signal, the difference in callback rates fades away. This result suggests that the screening conducted by the employers does not go beyond the main pages of profiles. It also illustrates that design choices made by online platforms may have important consequences on the extent of discrimination.

Suggested Citation

Manant, Matthieu and Pajak, Serge and Soulié, Nicolas, Can Social Media Lead to Labor Market Discrimination? Evidence from a Field Experiment (Summer 2019). Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Vol. 28, Issue 2, pp. 225-246, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3369873 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jems.12291

Matthieu Manant (Contact Author)

Université Paris XI Sud ( email )

15, rue Georges Clemenceau
Orsay cedex, 91405
France

Serge Pajak

Université Paris XI Sud - Faculty Jean Monnet ( email )

54 Boulevard Desgranges
Sceaux Cedex, 92331
France

Nicolas Soulié

University of Paris- Sud 11 ( email )

54 Boulevard Desgranges
Sceaux, 92331
France

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