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Stigma and Labor Market Supply

Health & Psychology Brazil

Credit: nick v on Flickr

Study Context

Our proposed labor market experiment explores how the stigma of living in a favela affects decisions to apply to jobs and its impact on the matching process. Stigma is a mark associated with negative characteristics, which leads to discrimination. Stigma can be especially damaging in the labor market, since it can psychologically affect labor suppliers. For those living in favelas, one’s home address may be associated with stigma. We outline a field experiment in which we manipulate stigma (address) visibility to estimate its effects on job application decisions and interview performance.

Study Design

This study will involve focus groups and a pilot experiment in Brazil, where 6% of the population live in favelas: urban slums that are usually ruled by organized crime and adjacent to richer neighborhoods. In the first stage, the researchers will manipulate home address visibility in a job application decision manipulating visibility amounts to varying the anticipation of stigmatization. The second stage of the experiment focuses on understanding the impact of the stigma in the job interview performance. A second randomization will vary the anticipated stigmatization: this time, applicants will be randomly informed about whether the interviewer has information about their home address or not. Interviewers will be blind to the experimental design and will not be allowed to discuss home addresses during the interview.

Results and Policy Lessons

Results forthcoming.

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