What Do Names Reveal? Impacts of Blind Evaluations on Composition and Quality

71 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2021 Last revised: 27 Mar 2024

See all articles by Haruka Uchida

Haruka Uchida

University of Chicago, Department of Economics, Students

Date Written: January 16, 2021

Abstract

Concealing candidate identities during evaluations, or "blinding", is often proposed as a tool for combatting discrimination. I study how blinding impacts candidate selection and quality, and the forms of discrimination driving these effects. I conduct a natural field experiment at an academic conference, running each submitted paper through both blind and non-blind review. Four years after the experiment, I collect proxy measures of paper quality---citations and publication statuses---for each paper and link it to the experimental data. I find that blinding significantly reduces scores for traditionally high-scoring groups, and consequently alters the composition of applicants who are accepted to the conference. Despite these compositional changes, blinding does not worsen the conference's ability to select high-quality papers. I develop a model of evaluator discrimination that allows me to rationalize these effects and decompose non-blind disparities into two distinct forms of discrimination: accurate statistical discrimination and bias.

Keywords: Discrimination, Academia, Blinding, Field Experiment

JEL Classification: C93, I24, J71

Suggested Citation

Uchida, Haruka, What Do Names Reveal? Impacts of Blind Evaluations on Composition and Quality (January 16, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3767565 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3767565

Haruka Uchida (Contact Author)

University of Chicago, Department of Economics, Students ( email )

Chicago, IL
United States

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