Political Behavior

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 653–675 | Cite as

Does Politics Influence Hiring? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment

  • Karen Gift
  • Thomas GiftEmail author
Original Paper


Do resumes with political “signals” make job applicants more or less likely to get hired? To test our theory that employers are more likely to hire like-minded partisans (and less likely to hire those of opposing partisan bents), we conduct a randomized experiment, sending out 1,200 politically branded resumes in response to help-wanted ads in two U.S. counties—one highly conservative and the other, highly liberal. In our pooled sample, we find that job seekers with minority partisan affiliations are statistically less likely to obtain a callback than candidates without any partisan affiliation. Meanwhile, applicants sharing the majority partisan affiliation are not significantly more likely to receive a callback than non-partisan candidates. These results suggest that individuals may sometimes place themselves at a disadvantage by including partisan cues on their resumes.


Employment Hiring Jobs Partisanship Bias Discrimination 



We thank Mike Munger for advising us, William Connelly for his help in identifying research assistants, Art Goldsmith for his encouragement and feedback, Christopher DeSante and Timothy Ryan for donating their time to answer our questions, and the anonymous reviewers at Political Behavior for their helpful critiques. We also thank Andrew Bell, Sunshine Hillygus, Daniel Krcmaric, Chris Porter, and Erik Wibbels for their thoughtful support and comments. We are grateful to Greg Franke, Annelise Madison, and Tom Sanford for their research assistance. Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the 2014 Midwest Political Science Association Annual Meeting and Washington and Lee University’s “Economics of Social Problems” seminar. Thomas Gift acknowledges financial support from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program and the Duke Program for the Study of Democracy, Institutions, and Political Economy. Project approved under IRB Protocol No: A0725.


Experiments comply with the current laws of the country in which they were performed. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of LawDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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