Language skills and homophilous hiring discrimination: Evidence from gender and racially differentiated applications

  • Anthony Edo
  • Nicolas Jacquemet
  • Constantine Yannelis


This paper investigates the importance of ethnic homophily in the hiring discrimination process. Our evidence comes from a correspondence test performed in France in which we use three different kinds of ethnic identification: French sounding names, North African sounding names, and “foreign” sounding names with no clear ethnic association. Within the groups of men and women, we show that all non-French applicants are equally discriminated against when compared to French applicants. Moreover, we find direct evidence of ethnic homophily: recruiters with European names are more likely to call back French named applicants. These results show the importance of favoritism for in-group members. To test for the effect of information about applicant’s skills, we also add a signal related to language ability in all resumes sent to half the job offers. The design allows to uniquely identify the effect of the language signal by gender. Although the signal inclusion significantly reduces the discrimination against non-French females, it is much weaker for male minorities.


Correspondence testing Gender discrimination Racial discrimination Ethnic homophily Language skills 

JEL Classification

J15 J64 J71 



We gratefully acknowledge David Neumark for sharing his data and estimation programs with us. We also thank Francis Bloch, Nick Bloom, Emmanuel Duguet, Christelle Dumas, Raquel Fernandez, Stéphane Gauthier, James Heckman, Shelly Lundberg, Muriel Niederle, Phillip Oreopoulos, Paolo Pin, Chris Taber, Marie-Anne Valfort as well as participants to various conferences and seminars for their thoughtful comments on the paper. We are grateful to the CEPREMAP for financial support. Nicolas Jacquemet acknowledges the Institut Universitaire de France for its support. Constantine Yannelis thanks the Alexander S. Onassis foundation for generous support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony Edo
    • 1
  • Nicolas Jacquemet
    • 2
  • Constantine Yannelis
    • 3
  1. 1.CEPII. 113 rue de GrenelleParisFrance
  2. 2.Paris School of Economics and University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Centre d’Economie de la Sorbonne, 106 Bd de l’hopitalParisFrance
  3. 3.NYU Stern School of BusinessNew YorkUSA

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