Dropping Anchor: A Field Experiment Assessing a Salary History Ban with Archival Replication

Sherman, E, Brands, R and Ku, G (2023) Dropping Anchor: A Field Experiment Assessing a Salary History Ban with Archival Replication. Management Science, 69 (5). pp. 2919-2932. ISSN 0025-1909 OPEN ACCESS


Could a salary history ban (SHB) reduce the gender wage gap? Proponents of this intervention believe the gap is sustained by the practice of eliciting salary histories from job applicants. Although observational studies suggest that SHB operates as envisioned, two features complicate the interpretation of its effects. These are, respectively, the passage of relevant legislation alongside SHB, and the presence of public campaigns that propel SHB into law. We assessed SHB in the United Kingdom, where neither potential confound was present, and found no evidence that the intervention operated as intended. An intention-to-treat analysis of a 16-month field experiment, conducted with 230 staff hires at a private educational institution, indicates that SHB was about as likely to harm new hires as it was to help them. Additional analyses did not reveal significant differences between women and men. We supplement these results with an interrupted time series analysis of 3,687 placements made by a recruitment firm that voluntarily adopted SHB for its job candidates. Salaries were significantly lower under SHB, but were not significantly different for women versus men. Taken together, our results suggest that SHB was ineffective in isolation from contemporaneous legislative changes, pro-equality messaging, or some combination thereof.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
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© 2023 INFORMS

Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2023 11:04
Date of first compliant deposit: 29 Jul 2022
Subjects: Salary administration
Diversity in the workplace
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2024 01:58
URI: https://lbsresearch.london.edu/id/eprint/2605
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