Public Economics and Policy Seminar - Amelie Schiprowski (University of Bonn)
Interview Sequences and the Formation of Subjective Assessments
This paper studies how the assessment of a candidate is influenced by the other candidates seen by the same interviewer, as well as by their sequential ordering. We leverage novel data on more than 30,000 interviewer assessments made within the admission process of a large German study grant program. We find that a candidate's assessment decreases in the measured quality of all other candidates seen by the same interviewer. The influence of the previous candidate, however, exceeds the influence of any other candidate by a factor of about three. This has a large impact on the next candidate's admission outcome: interviewers are 25% more likely to vote for a candidate who follows a candidate from the lowest quality than for a candidate who follows a candidate from the highest quartile. Additional analyses point toward a memory-based mechanism.