"Designing Gender Equity: Evidence from Hiring Practices” - Tatiana Mocanu, Columbia University

Nov 27, 1:20 pm2:35 pm


Event Description


This paper analyzes how different screening practices affect gender equity in hiring. I transform tens of millions of high-dimensional, unstructured records from Brazil’s public sector into selection processes with detailed information on candidates, evaluators, screening tools, and scores. Exploiting a federal provision that required the use of more impartial hiring practices, I find that increasing screening impartiality improves women’s evaluation scores, application rates, and probability of being hired. To understand which design choices reduce gender disparities, I combine variation in how job processes complied with the reform requirements with a model of hiring in which evaluator bias, tool bias, and screening precision jointly determine relative hiring outcomes by gender. Screening changes that limit discretion in existing hiring practices or add new impartial screening tools reduce the gender hiring gap by a third, while policies that eliminate subjective screening tools are ineffective because the loss of screening precision outweighs the reduction in evaluator bias.