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New publication | On the trajectory of discrimination: A meta-analysis and forecasting survey capturing 44 years of field experiments on gender and hiring decisions

A meta-analysis of field audits of gender gaps in application outcomes between 1976 and 2020 found that the discrimination of women for male-typed and balanced jobs decreased over time. Anna Dreber Almenberg and Magnus Johannesson, Professors at the Department of Economics at SSE, and co-authors publish a new article in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

Dreber and Johannesson with co-authors examined gender discrimination on the labor market in a meta-analysis of 85 field audits of gender gaps in application outcomes. The included studies covered the period 1976 to 2020 and the results of the meta-analysis found that discrimination against women for male-typed and balanced jobs decreased over time. The meta-analysis was accompanied by a forecasting study, and the forecasters predicted the observed decline in discrimination but overestimated the degree of remaining discrimination. The discrimination of men for female-typed jobs remained stable over time, which was not anticipated by the forecasters that predicted that the discrimination had decreased over time.


preregistered meta-analysis, including 244 effect sizes from 85 field audits and 361,645 individual job applications, tested for gender bias in hiring practices in female-stereotypical and gender-balanced as well as male-stereotypical jobs from 1976 to 2020. A “red team” of independent experts was recruited to increase the rigor and robustness of our meta-analytic approach. A forecasting survey further examined whether laypeople (n = 499 nationally representative adults) and scientists (n = 312) could predict the results. Forecasters correctly anticipated reductions in discrimination against female candidates over time. However, both scientists and laypeople overestimated the continuation of bias against female candidates. Instead, selection bias in favor of male over female candidates was eliminated and, if anything, slightly reversed in sign starting in 2009 for mixed-gender and male-stereotypical jobs in our sample. Forecasters further failed to anticipate that discrimination against male candidates for stereotypically female jobs would remain stable across the decades.

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