SAGE Journal Articles
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Abstract: This article describes a field experiment in which we sent fictitious résumés to advertised job openings throughout the American South. We randomly altered the résumés to indicate affiliation in one of seven religious groups or a control group. We found that applicants who expressed a religious identity were 26 percent less likely to receive a response from employers. In general, Muslims, pagans, and atheists suffered the highest levels of discriminatory treatment from employers, a fictitious religious group and Catholics experienced moderate levels, evangelical Christians encountered little, and Jews received no discernible discrimination. We also found evidence suggesting the possibility that Jews received preferential treatment over other religious groups in employer responses. The results fit best with models of religious discrimination rooted in secularization theory and cultural distaste theory. We briefly discuss what our findings suggest for a more robust theory of prejudice and discrimination in society.
Abstract: To test the effect of ability grouping on grades and the attainment of higher education, this study examines a naturally occurring experiment—an admission reform that dramatically increased ability sorting between schools in the municipality of Stockholm. Following six cohorts of students (N = 79,020) from the age of 16 to 26, I find a mean effect close to zero and small positive and negative differentiating effects on grades. With regard to the attainment of higher education, I find a mean effect close to zero, the achievement group gap was unaffected, the immigrant–native gap increased, and the class background gap decreased. These results are consistent with much previous research that has found small mean effects of ability grouping. They are inconsistent with previous research, however, in that I find ability grouping’s effects on gaps are rather small and point in different directions.
Abstract: Thanks to the Internet and the related availability of “Big Data,” social interactions and their environmental context can now be studied experimentally. In this article, we discuss a methodology that we term the online field experiment to differentiate it from more traditional lab-based experimental designs. We explain how this experimental method can be used to capture theoretically relevant environmental conditions while also maximizing the researcher’s control over the treatment(s) of interest. We argue that this methodology is particularly well suited for social psychology because of its focus on social interactions and the factors that influence the nature and structure of these interactions. We provide one detailed example of an online field experiment used to investigate the impact of the sharing economy on trust behavior. We argue that we are fundamentally living in a new social world in which the Internet mediates a growing number of our social interactions. These highly prevalent forms of social interaction create opportunities for the development of new research designs that allow us to advance our theories of social interaction and social structure with new data sources.