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Algorithmic bias? An empirical study into apparent gender-based discrimination in the display of STEM career ads


Management Science



Authors / Editors

Lambrecht A;Tucker C


Publication Year



We explore data from a field test of how an algorithm delivered ads promoting job opportunities in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. This ad was explicitly intended to be gender-neutral in its delivery. Empirically, however, fewer women saw the ad than men. This happened because younger women are a prized demographic and are more expensive to show ads to. An algorithm which simply optimizes cost-effectiveness in ad delivery will deliver ads that were intended to be gender-neutral in an apparently discriminatory way, due to crowding out. We show that this empirical regularity extends to other major digital platforms.

Available on ECCH


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