University of Oulu

Mourelatos, E. (2023). Does Mood affect Sexual and Gender Discrimination in Hiring Choices? Evidence from Online Experiments. In Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (Vol. 106, p. 102069). Elsevier BV.

Does mood affect sexual and gender discrimination in hiring choices? Evidence from online experiments

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Author: Mourelatos, Evangelos1
Organizations: 1Department of Economics, Accounting and Finance in Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.7 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-08-14


We explore whether there is a link between mood and hiring decisions. This research examines how positive mood affects the discrimination faced by homosexual and female job candidates compared to heterosexual and male ones. We randomly assign respondents to one of two mood-inducing videos (positive and neutral), and we allow subjects to make a series of hiring choices prior and immediately after watching the mood-inducing video. Our experiment being conducted in the online labor platform Amazon Mechanical Turk, allows us to track the complete hiring process and monitor employers’ behavior within and without our treatment context. Constructing pairs of curriculum vitae, distinguished only by the sexual orientation or the gender of the applicants in each case, leads to the observation that women and gay men faced a significantly lower chance of getting hired. We also find that female employers proposed higher levels of discrimination only in the case of female applicants. Our positive mood manipulation leads to a decrease of discrimination levels. Thus, there is substantial experimental evidence to suggest that discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender also exists in online labor markets. An additional experiment with negative mood manipulation, also, gives evidence for the opposite direction of the effects, contributing to a broader picture of the relationship between mood and discrimination behavior. Contributions to the literature on hiring discrimination, mood research and the online economy are discussed.

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Series: Journal of behavioral and experimental economics
ISSN: 2214-8043
ISSN-E: 2214-8051
ISSN-L: 2214-8043
Volume: 106
Article number: 102069
DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2023.102069
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 511 Economics
515 Psychology
Funding: Additionally, this research is connected to the GenZ-project, a strategic profiling project in human sciences at the University of Oulu. The project is supported by the Academy of Finland (project number 318930) and the University of Oulu.
Dataset Reference: Data will be made available on request.
Copyright information: © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (