Discussion paper

DP14028 When Correspondence Studies Fail to Detect Hiring Discrimination

Based on a correspondence study conducted in France, we show that fictitious
low-skilled applicants in the private sector are half as likely to be
called back by the employers when they are of North African rather than
French origin. By contrast, the origin of the fictitious applicants does not
impact their callback rate in the public sector. We run a survey revealing
that recruiters display similarly strong negative discriminatory attitudes
towards North Africans in both sectors. We set out a model explaining why
differences in discrimination at the stage of invitation for interviews can
arise when recruiters display identical discriminatory attitudes in both
sectors. The estimation of this model shows that discrimination at the
invitation stage is a poor predictor of discrimination at the hiring stage.
This suggests that many correspondence studies may fail to detect hiring
discrimination and its extent.


Cahuc, P, S Carcillo, A Minea and M Valfort (2019), ‘DP14028 When Correspondence Studies Fail to Detect Hiring Discrimination‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 14028. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp14028