Gender homophily in job referrals: Evidence from a field study among university students

Last registered on May 11, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Gender homophily in job referrals: Evidence from a field study among university students
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0009426
Initial registration date
May 11, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
May 11, 2022, 12:41 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Stockholm University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Stockholm University

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2015-04-01
End date
2021-03-01
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
We conduct a fi eld study at a Swedish business school to investigate gender homophily in job referrals. In the study, 454 participants were asked to refer another student at the school for a real job. We find strong evidence of gender homophily among both men and women: Almost three out of four students refer a candidate of their own gender. The gender composition of friendship networks appears as an important driver of this pattern. Gender differences in the valuation and attribution of skills, on the other hand, do not seem to contribute to the observed gender homophily in referrals.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Hederos, Karin Hederos and Anna Sandberg. 2022. "Gender homophily in job referrals: Evidence from a field study among university students." AEA RCT Registry. May 11. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9426
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The participants were instructed to read a job advertisement for a vacant position and refer another student at the school for the position. We randomize participants across two job advertisements; one more stereotypically female and one more stereotypically male. The purpose is to explore if the degree of gender homophily in job referrals is stronger for jobs that are more congruent with participants' gender stereotype.
Intervention Start Date
2015-04-01
Intervention End Date
2015-06-01

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Whether the participant referred a student of their own gender for the position (binary variable).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The study was carried out in collaboration with a public relations and media company that was about to recruit students for two different part-time positions. The primary task of the participants was to read the job advertisement for one of these positions and
refer another student at the school for the job. We recruited the majority of participants during lectures, asking all students in the classroom to participate in conjunction with a break or at the end of the lecture. The remaining participants were recruited in common seating areas or at a student association meeting.

Participants were instructed to fill out a three-page form, and informed that they would receive a lottery ticket worth 10 SEK upon handing in the completed form. The first page of the form contained brief instructions. The second page displayed the job advertisement and asked the participant to write down the name and year of study of the student that they would like to refer for the position. Participants were also asked to indicate, on a 1-7 scale, how well they knew the referral and to circle three out of 14 characteristics that describe this person. On the third page of the form, to elicit the gender distribution of participants' friendship networks, we asked them to list five friends with whom they socialize frequently at the school.

To provide incentives for participants to refer someone they perceive to be qualified for the position, we introduced a fi nder's fee of 5,000 SEK. Participants were informed that they would receive the finder's fee if the person they referred was eventually hired.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Each participant was given a paper showing the job ad (either the feminine version or the masculine version). These papers were distributed to participants by the researchers - drawn blindly from a big pile of paper containing both versions of the ad. In the pile, every other paper contained the feminine version and every other paper contained the masculine version.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
We aimed for at least 400 individuals.
Sample size: planned number of observations
We aimed for at least 400 individuals.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
We aimed for at least 200 individuals in each treatment arm.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
June 01, 2015, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
March 01, 2021, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
454 individuals (in total, 457 participated, but 3 were dropped from the final analysis because they referred themselves for the job).
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
454 individuals (in total, 457 participated, but 3 were dropped from the final analysis because they referred themselves for the job).
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
228 participants saw the job advertisement for the feminine job and 226 saw the job advertisement for the masculine job.
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials