My current research studies (1) social justice movements in the digital age and (2) the impact of societal structures on the behavior and economic outcomes of minority groups.
Job Market Paper
Is Slacktivism Harmless? Unintended Consequences of Social Media Activism (Job Market Paper)
Abstract: People commonly post to social media in support of a cause, which has raised concerns that vital, higher-cost actions of support may be crowded out by these visible, low-effort options. The media voiced this 'slacktivism' concern after a surge in online support for racial justice in the summer of 2020. Using a between-subject laboratory experiment, I show that subjects who send - or “post” - a digital message to peers stating ‘I support racial justice’ are less likely to donate to racial justice charities than those who did not have the option to publicize their support. Importantly, posting does not encourage others to give, so the social media environment not only crowds out an individual's own donation, this crowd out is not offset by how their post influences others. My model highlights the importance of beliefs about the impact of posting for decision making. However, results are not driven by people thinking they are making a difference. Instead, motivated reasoning and reputational moral licensing are the underlying mechanisms. In a follow-on nudge experiment, I attempt to mitigate this phenomenon but find no change in behavior, suggesting the persistence of slacktivism.
Other Working Papers
Abstract: Female whistleblowers face more retaliation in the workplace, and I provide novel evidence that retaliation also disproportionately disadvantages women on peer-to-peer review platforms. I leverage an exogenous policy change implemented by Airbnb on July 10, 2014 that made reviews simultaneous reveal, meaning that an individual could no longer see the comments the other party left before submitting their own review. The change removed the ability to retaliate to negative reviews and reciprocate extremely positive reviews, both of which encouraged honesty. Using review data for Airbnb listings, I find that both male and female guests respond by reducing the positivity of reviews they write for hosts. However, reviews towards male hosts experienced a larger negative shift of review sentiment, indicating that reviews of male hosts were twice as artificially elevated relative to those of female hosts. Reviews to male hosts show evidence of fear of retaliation in addition to reciprocity, while reviews of female hosts indicate reciprocity only. These results provide evidence that peer-to-peer review systems, which are becoming increasingly common, especially in non-traditional labor market settings, are not gender-neutral in implementation if retaliation is possible.
Works in Progress
When Perfection is Detrimental to Diversity: The Hidden Cost of Strict Job Qualification Requirements
(joint with Tanner Eastmond)
Abstract: Despite years of policy and revised corporate practice intended to correct inequality in the hiring process, application gaps persist for women and individuals from underrepresented racial minority groups. This study explores whether it is possible to narrow this application gap and promote diversity in the applicant pool by modifying the language around qualification requirements in job ads. We do so using a large-scale, "reverse audit study" field experiment where we randomize the content of job ads and observe job seeker behavior. Specifically, we established a non-profit recruiting firm to act as an intermediary in the job search process. This firm reposts real job ads and collects information from job seekers interested in applying. We randomize whether we encourage people to apply even if they don't meet all of the listed qualifications and whether we inform them that companies routinely hire individuals who do not have all qualifications. This is a light touch intervention that may change perceptions of the hiring process and nudge more capable people into applying. We hypothesize that wording changes will have larger impacts on women, individuals from underrepresented racial minority groups, and people with non-traditional employment backgrounds. (Pilot results will be available soon.)
Recent and Upcoming Presentations
Nov 2023 Southern Economics Association Conference (SEA)
Nov 2023 Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management (APPAM), poster
Oct 2023 Economic Science Association (ESA) Job Market Seminar Series
Sep 2023 Economics of LGBTQ+ Individuals Virtual Seminar (CSQIEP)
Nov 2022 North-American Economic Science Association (ESA) Conference
Sep 2022 All California Labor Economics Conference (ACLEC), poster