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Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact Of “Blind” Auditions On Female Musicians

Claudia Goldin, Cecilia Rouse

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A change in the audition procedures of symphony orchestras—adoption of “blind” auditions with a “screen” to conceal the candidate's identity from the jury—provides a test for sex-biased hiring. Using data from actual auditions, in an individual fixed-effects framework, we find that the screen increases the probability a woman will be advanced and hired. Although some of our estimates have large standard errors and there is one persistent effect in the opposite direction, the weight of the evidence suggests that the blind audition procedure fostered impartiality in hiring and increased the proportion women in symphony orchestras. (JEL J7, J16)