Order Effects and Employment Decisions: Experimental Evidence from a Nationwide Program

48 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2021 Last revised: 19 May 2022

See all articles by Nicolas Ajzenman

Nicolas Ajzenman

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics

Gregory Elacqua

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Luana Marotta

Inter-American Development Bank

Anne Olsen

Novo Nordisk

Abstract

In this paper, we show that order effects operate in the context of high-stakes, real-world decisions: employment choices. We experimentally evaluate a nationwide program in Ecuador that changed the order of teaching vacancies on a job application platform in order to reduce teacher sorting (that is, lower-income students are more likely to attend schools with less qualified teachers). In the treatment arm, the platformshowed hard-tostaff schools (institutions typically located in more vulnerable areas that normally have greater difficulty attracting teachers) first, while in the control group teaching vacancies were displayed in alphabetical order. In both arms, hard-to-staff schools were labeled with an icon and identical information was given to teachers. We find that a teacher in the treatment arm was more likely to apply to hard-to-staff schools, to rank them as their highest priority, and to be assigned to a job vacancy in one of these schools. The effects were not driven by inattentive, altruistic, or less-qualified teachers. Instead, choice overload and fatigue seem to have played a role. The program has thus helped to reduce the unequal distribution of qualified teachers across schools of different socioeconomic backgrounds.

Keywords: order effects, teacher sorting, satisficing

JEL Classification: I24, D91, I25

Suggested Citation

Ajzenman, Nicolas and Elacqua, Gregory and Marotta, Luana and Olsen, Anne, Order Effects and Employment Decisions: Experimental Evidence from a Nationwide Program. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14690, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3917305

Nicolas Ajzenman (Contact Author)

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics ( email )

Rua Itapeva 474 s.1202
São Paulo, São Paulo 01332-000
Brazil

Gregory Elacqua

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) ( email )

1300 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

Luana Marotta

Inter-American Development Bank ( email )

1300 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

Anne Olsen

Novo Nordisk

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