In this project, we study the decisions of candidates about whether to apply for different opportunities. We aim to tackle the question of whether there are gender differences in how job-seekers perceive their own qualifications for different opportunities, and how this impacts their decision about whether or not to apply. In addition, we ask whether whether reducing ambiguity around required qualifications for a given opportunity reduces the gender gap in willingness to apply among qualified candidates.
The first experiment we ran for this project was a field experiment on the online labor market platform, UpWork. Serving as a potential employer, we created job opportunities to which participants could apply. In our baseline condition, we found that qualified women were significantly less likely to apply to our more demanding and more lucrative job opportunity than equally qualified men. Our treatment conditions tested a simple policy intervention: we provided more clarity on what “the bar” was in terms of desired qualifications. We found that the gender gap in in application rates among qualified candidates was reduced when the desired qualifications for the opportunity were less ambiguous.
The study we are pre-registering is a follow-up to that study. In particular, we are looking to replicate the results from the UpWork experiment, using a very similar paradigm, but in a new population (Prolific Workers). In addition to replicating our main results, we are adding additional questions aimed at uncovering the mechanisms underlying our results.