Affirmative action clauses and gender-neutral hiring of junior scholars

We examine the role for external experts in providing unbiased evaluations of candidates. Affirmative action can promote the advancement of minority candidates, but the empirical results have been inconclusive. We conduct a field experiment with Polish academics, asking them to assess the quality of job candidates and decide which candidates should be invited for interviews. We implement two treatments: a binding and a non-binding equal opportunity clause. Additionally, we vary the gender composition of the candidates being evaluated. Our findings show no evidence of bias against women, either in quality assessments or in subsequent interview invitations. Under the binding equal opportunity clause, external evaluators tend to favor women, suggesting alignment between external experts and institutional objectives.