Re: Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of Blind Auditions on Female Musicians

From: Ross A. Finlayson (
Date: Tue Feb 06 2001 - 19:21:13 MST

Chris Rasch wrote:

> I recently came across this recently in an article on bias in hiring
> practices:
> "Accounting for Unintended Bias
> Even among the most well-intentioned of individuals, the possibility of
> unintended bias is present. That is, without knowing that he or she is
> doing so, those responsible for hiring may favor someone that looks
> like us (for whatever definition of us is relevant). The hiring
> managers may select a superbly qualified person who looks different in
> contrast to an adequately qualified person who looks the same, but the
> bias is most likely to come out in a choice between two nearly equally
> qualified individuals.
> Steps can be taken to reduce the likelihood of unintended bias as a
> general rule, these steps involve separating the dimensions on which an
> individual is evaluated from personally identifying (and irrelevant)
> characteristics. Of course, such a separation is not always possible
> (e.g., when an individual's ability to work in a team is being
> evaluated), but it is possible more than it is practiced.
> The impact of such steps can be quite significant. For example, in
> hiring musicians, symphony orchestras require applicants to audition.
> All auditions are live, but some orchestras conduct them with the
> applicant behind a screen that prevents the judges from seeing the
> musician. In doing so, the music that the applicant plays the relevant
> part of the audition is separated from the irrelevant characteristics of
> the applicant s sex, race, and age. Goldin and Rouse find that the use
> of screen increases by 50 percent the probability that a female musician
> will be advanced from certain preliminary rounds and increases by
> severalfold the likelihood that a female musician will be selected in
> the final round."
> Goldin, Claudia, and Cecilia Rouse. 2000. Orchestrating Impartiality:
> The Impact of Blind Auditions on Female Musicians, American Economic
> Review 90(September):715-742.
> cited in:
> Building a Workforce for the Information Economy (prepublication copy)
> Prepared by:
> Committee on Workforce Needs in Information Technology
> Computer Science and Telecommunications Board
> Board on Testing and Assessment
> Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy
> Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel
> National Research Council
> Washington, D.C.
> The report also contains a number of other fascinating statistics. For
> example, according to (Schmidt and Hunter, 1998) years of education and
> years of job experience correlate poorly with measures of actual
> on-the-job performance: 0.10 and 0.18, respectively.
> Schmidt, F.L., and Hunter, J.E. 1998. The Validity and Utility of
> Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology: Practical and Theoretical
> Implications of 85 Years of Research Findings, Psychological Bulletin
> 124:262-274)

Justice is blind.


Ross Andrew Finlayson
Finlayson Consulting
Ross at Tiki-Lounge:
Confucious says, "My name is Confucious."

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:56:36 MDT