The effects of aversive anti-Semitism on selection decisions regarding Jewish workers in the United States / by Jonathan David Gale.
The effects of aversive anti-Semitism on selection decisions regarding Jewish employees in the U.S. were studied. The extant literature on aversive racism, prejudice and stereotyping, and job discrimination provided a backdrop for the present study. Participants read transcripts of an interview for a bank president position that varied by candidate religion/ethnicity and qualifications. They then rated the job candidate on job-relevant scales and personality traits, and completed an anti-Semitism scale and demographics questionnaire. The first hypothesis predicted a 2-way interaction of candidate religion/ethnicity and qualifications on candidate ratings such that Jewish candidates would be rated lower than Christian candidates in the ambiguous qualification condition but not in the strong or weak qualification conditions. The second hypothesis predicted a negative correlation between self-report anti-Semitism and Jewish candidate ratings across conditions. College and graduate students ( N = 299) participated in the study. Tests of the first hypothesis indicated an interaction of candidate religion/ethnicity and qualifications on candidate ratings that was modified by participant religion. Specifically, when qualifications were weak, Jewish and Christian participants rated Christian candidates higher than Jewish candidates. In contrast, participants with no religion rated Jewish candidates higher than Christian candidates in the weak qualification condition. Post hoc correlation analyses revealed significant variations in candidate ratings based on implicit associations between Jews and ambition and Christians and incompetence. In particular, strongly qualified Jewish candidates who were rated highly for the job were seen as ambitious yet their Christian counterparts were not. Weakly qualified Christian candidates who were rated poorly for the job were seen as incompetent, yet their Jewish counterparts were not. Tests of the second hypothesis revealed no significant correlation between candidate ratings and total anti-Semitism scores. However, significant correlations were found for the traditional anti-Semitism subscale, indicating that traditional anti-Semitism was a better predictor of anti-Jewish discrimination than modern anti-Semitism. Tests of demographic factors revealed that frequent interaction with Muslims and Republican Party membership both correlated positively with anti-Semitism. Overall, this study did not demonstrate the expected effects of aversive anti-Semitism in the banking industry. However, important links were found between implicit personality-based biases and hiring decisions.
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