Stereotypes of physical appearance and labor market chances

Author: Mahmood Arai, And Marie Gartell, And Magnus Rödin, And Gülay Özcan, And

Published in: Industrial and Labor Relations Review, vol. 74, no. 2, pp. 293-320

Summary of Working paper 2016:20

Using an experimental setup involving 436 case workers at the Swedish Public Employment Service (SPES) as subjects and the profile photographs and recorded voices of 75 jobseekers as treatments, we report results indicating that male case workers tend to favor jobseekers perceived as having a stereotypical Swedish appearance when they select candidates to be recommended for labor market programs (LMP). This bias represents a roughly 50-percent greater chance of being selected if you compare the candidate with the highest score with regard to stereotypical Swedish looks (8/10) with the candidate with the lowest score (3/10) in our sample.