Do Diversity Claims Cause Labor Market Sorting by Political Partisanship? Evidence from Experiments

76 Pages Posted: 30 May 2024

See all articles by Reuben Hurst

Reuben Hurst

University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business

Saerom (Ronnie) Lee

Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: May 28, 2024

Abstract

This study investigates how diversity claims may cause labor market sorting by political partisanship. In a field experiment conducted in partnership with a hiring company, we show that these claims are disproportionately unattractive to Republican job seekers. Our follow-up survey experiment reveals that this decreased attraction is driven by not only taste-based (i.e., ideological misalignment) but also statistical mechanisms (i.e., inferences regarding what these claims signal regarding unobservable employer characteristics). Notably, while previous studies have demonstrated that diversity claims lower expectations of discrimination for women and people of color, we find that these claims can, in fact, raise expectations of discrimination (while also reducing expectations of meritocracy) for workers on the political right. Overall, our findings imply that, in organizations with a low representation of Republican workers, efforts to improve gender or racial diversity through diversity claims may (inadvertently) create a homogeneous workplace in terms of political partisanship.

Keywords: labor market sorting, political identity, diversity, nonmarket strategy, human capital

JEL Classification: J6, J7, J15, J20, J24, J32, J62, C93, E24, M14, M51

Suggested Citation

Hurst, Reuben and Lee, Saerom (Ronnie), Do Diversity Claims Cause Labor Market Sorting by Political Partisanship? Evidence from Experiments (May 28, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4846170 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4846170

Reuben Hurst

University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business ( email )

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/umich.edu/reubenhurst

Saerom (Ronnie) Lee (Contact Author)

Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania ( email )

The Wharton School
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.saeromlee.com

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