college athletics, employment, resume audit, experimental design, disparate impact
Employers may favor applicants who played college sports if athletics participation contributes to leadership, conscientiousness, discipline, and other traits that are desirable for labor-market productivity. We conduct a resume audit to estimate the causal effect of listing collegiate athletics on employer callbacks and test for subgroup effects by ethnicity, gender, and sport type. We applied to more than 450 jobs on a large, well-known job board. For each job listing we submitted two fictitious resumes, one of which was randomly assigned to include collegiate varsity athletics. Overall, listing a college sport does not produce a statistically significant change in the likelihood of receiving a callback or interview request. However, among non-white applicants, athletes are 3.2 percentage points less likely to receive an interview request (p = .04) relative to non-athletes. We find no statistically significant differences among males or females.
Paul, J. D., Cheng, A., Greene, J. P., & McGee, J. B. (2021). The Value of College Athletics in the Labor Market: Results from a Resume Audit Field Experiment. Education Reform Faculty and Graduate Students Publications. Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/edrepub/123