Do employers discriminate against physical appearance and sexual preference? A field experiment

Eleonora Patacchini, Giuseppe Ragusa, Yves Zenou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


This chapter describes a field experiment conducted in two Italian cities, Rome and Milan, to study the relationship between homosexuality, attractiveness and labor-market outcomes as measured by the difference in the percentage of callback rates between the reference group (homosexuals and less attractive persons) and the control group (heterosexuals and "good looking" persons). "Fake" CVs were distributed, which clearly indicated participation in a gay or lesbian organization for homosexuals and different pictures to highlight how handsome the candidate was. CVs were randomly assigned so that some were from homosexuals and others from heterosexuals. The same procedure was used for the "attractiveness" of the person. The research found that there is a statistically significant penalty (in terms of callback rates) associated with homosexual males of about 3%, whereas homosexual females do not seem to show any significant difference with respect to heterosexual females.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnexplored Dimensions of Discrimination
EditorsTito Boeri, Eleonora Patacchini, Giovanni Peri
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780191796500
ISBN (Print)9780198729853
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2015
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameReports for the Fondazione Rodolfo DeBenedetti


  • Beauty
  • Callback rates
  • Field experiment
  • Homosexuality

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