NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Factors Determining Callbacks to Job Applications by the Unemployed: An Audit Study

Henry S. Farber, Dan Silverman, Till von Wachter

NBER Working Paper No. 21689
Issued in October 2015
NBER Program(s):LS

We use an audit study approach to investigate how unemployment duration, age, and holding a low-level “interim” job affect the likelihood that experienced college-educated females applying for an administrative support job receive a callback from a potential employer. First, the results show no relationship between callback rates and the duration of unemployment. Second, workers age 50 and older are significantly less likely to receive a callback. Third, taking an interim job significantly reduces the likelihood of receiving a callback. Finally, employers who have higher callback rates respond less to observable differences across workers in determining whom to call back. We interpret these results in the context of a model of employer learning about applicant quality.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21689

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