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Gender Sorting at the Application Interface




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    • The authors' affiliation is MIT Sloan School of Management, 100 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02142. E-mail: We are grateful to Paul Moore, Brian Rubineau, Cecilia Ridgeway, Eduardo Melero, Ray Reagans, and Isabel Fernandez-Mateo for their help and advice on various stages of the project.


We document gender sorting of candidates into gender-typed jobs at the point of initial application to a company. At this step of the hiring process, the firm has implemented a policy whereby organizational screeners’ discretion has been eliminated such that there is no opportunity for contact between hiring agents and applicants. Thus, the job choices studied here offer unique insight as they are uncontaminated by screeners’ steering of candidates toward gender-typed jobs. Even in the absence of steering, we find clear patterns of gendered job choices that line up with gender stereotypes of job roles. Moreover, these gendered patterns recur both within individuals and within race groups. Comparing our findings to the pattern of job sorting in the external local labor market, we find that supply-side factors do not fully account for the levels job sex segregation observed in the open labor market. Although probably not the entire story, we show clear evidence that supply-side sorting processes are important factors contributing to job sex segregation.