Discrimination in Hiring Based on Potential and Realized Fertility: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment

37 Pages Posted: 9 May 2019

See all articles by Beata Smarzynska Javorcik

Beata Smarzynska Javorcik

University of Oxford - Department of Economics

Ana Fernandes

University of Bern - Department of Economics

Doris Weichselbaumer

Johannes Kepler University Linz - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

Due to conventional gender norms, women are more likely to be in charge of childcare than men. From an employer’s perspective, in their fertile age they are also at “risk” of pregnancy. Both factors potentially affect hiring practices of firms. We conduct a largescale correspondence test in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, sending out approx. 9,000 job applications, varying job candidate’s personal characteristics such as marital status and age of children. We find evidence that, for part-time jobs, married women with older kids, who likely finished their childbearing cycle and have more projectable childcare chores than women with very young kids, are at a significant advantage vis-à-vis other groups of women. At the same time, married, but childless applicants, who have a higher likelihood to become pregnant, are at a disadvantage compared to single, but childless applicants to part-time jobs. Such effects are not present for full-time jobs, presumably, because by applying to these in contrast to part-time jobs, women signal that they have arranged for external childcare.  

Keywords: fertility, discrimination experimental economics

JEL Classification: C930, J160, J710

Suggested Citation

Smarzynska Javorcik, Beata and Fernandes, Ana and Weichselbaumer, Doris, Discrimination in Hiring Based on Potential and Realized Fertility: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment (2019). CESifo Working Paper No. 7624, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3384315

Beata Smarzynska Javorcik (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Road
Oxford, OX1 3BJ
United Kingdom

Ana Fernandes

University of Bern - Department of Economics ( email )

Schanzeneckstrasse 1
Bern, CH-3001
Switzerland

Doris Weichselbaumer

Johannes Kepler University Linz - Department of Economics ( email )

Altenbergerstrasse 69
A-4040 Linz, 4040
Austria
+43 732 2468 8240 (Phone)
+43 732 2468 9679 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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