DP12308 Connections and Applicants' Self-Selection: Evidence from a Natural Randomized Experiment

Author(s): Manuel Bagues, Mauro Sylos-Labini, Natalia Zinovyeva
Publication Date: September 2017
Keyword(s): academic labor markets, connections, Self-selection
JEL(s): I23, J71
Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=12308

Prospective candidates with connections in committees may have access to more accurate information about evaluation standards. When applications are costly, this informational advantage may reduce the application rate of connected individuals, leading to a positive selection among applicants. We document the relevance of this phenomenon using data from national evaluations in Italian academia. Researchers are significantly less likely to apply when the committee includes, through the luck of the draw, a colleague or a coauthor. At the same time, they tend to receive more favorable evaluations from their connections. Our analysis indicates that self-selection may bias in a non-trivial way estimates of evaluation biases that rely on observational data.