Bias at early stage

A fascinating new study examined rates of response to emailed requests for a meeting by prospective PhD students. Here’s what they found:

[T]he researchers found that there was virtually no difference in the rate of response when prospective students asked for an immediate meeting. But when they tried to schedule one in a week, white males were 26% more likely to successfully schedule a meeting and 16% more likely to receive a response. While white males were more likely to get a response if they asked to meet in a week rather than the same day, female and minority students had a better response rate when they asked to meet immediately. The response rate for women and minorities was 14 percentage points higher at public institutions than at private schools. Further, a $13,000 increase in a faculty member’s salary was associated with a four percentage point drop in the email response rate to women and minorities, but faculty salary had no such effect on white males.

Really fascinating, and important for philosophers to bear in mind as we try to make our field less white and male. (Thanks, S!)

3 thoughts on “Bias at early stage

  1. This makes me want to establish a stringent response policy for *myself* and stick to it. For all I know, I’m unwittingly guilty of making this exact mistake. Thanks for posting this, it’s always good to be reminded to stay vigilant and to continue trying to make things better.

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