Discussion Questions

  1. Review Pedulla’s (2016) “employment history” experiment with which this chapter began. Diagram the experiment using the exhibits in this chapter as a model (use the callback experiment, not the survey experiment). Discuss the extent to which experimental conditions were controlled and the causal mechanism was identified. How confident can you be in the causal conclusions from the study, based on review of the threats to internal validity discussed in this chapter? How generalizable do you think the study’s results are to the population from which cases were selected? To specific subgroups in the study? How thoroughly do the researchers discuss these issues?
  2. Describe a true experiment that could investigate the effect of the “nonstandard, mismatched positions penalty” using a laboratory experiment, rather than Pedulla’s (2016) field experiment design. What would the advantages be to conducting an experiment like this in a laboratory setting (such as on your campus)? What problems do you envision in implementing such a design? What would make you worry about generalizability of your findings?
  3. Do you think that the government should fund studies like Pedulla’s in order to identify biases and other barriers in the labor market? Are there some other employment issues that you think should be studied in this way? Explain your reasoning.