Alessandro Acquisti & Christina Fong, An Experiment in Hiring Discrimination via Online Social Networks
Comment by: Robert Sprague
Workshop draft abstract:
Self-report surveys and anecdotal evidence indicate that U.S. firms are using social networking sites to seek information about prospective hires. However, little is known about how the information they find online actually influences firms’ hiring decisions. We present the design and preliminary results of a series of controlled experiments of the impact that information posted on a popular social networking site by job applicants can have on employers’ hiring behavior. In two studies (a survey experiment and a field experiment) we measure the ratio of callbacks that different job applicants receive as function of their personal traits. The experiments focus on traits that U.S. employers are not allowed to enquiry about during interviews, but which can be inferred from perusing applicants’ online profiles: religious and sexual orientation, and family status.