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Do Competitive Examinations Promote Diversity in Civil Service?

Nathalie Greenan (), Joseph Lanfranchi (), Yannick L'Horty (), Mathieu Narcy and Guillaume Pierne
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Mathieu Narcy: TEPP - Travail, Emploi et Politiques Publiques - UPEM - Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CEET - Centre d'études de l'emploi et du travail - CNAM - Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers [CNAM] - M.E.N.E.S.R. - Ministère de l'Education nationale, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche - Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Santé, LIRSA - Laboratoire interdisciplinaire de recherche en sciences de l'action - CNAM - Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers [CNAM]
Guillaume Pierne: TEPP - Travail, Emploi et Politiques Publiques - UPEM - Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, GRANEM - Groupe de Recherche Angevin en Economie et Management - UA - Université d'Angers - AGROCAMPUS OUEST - Institut National de l'Horticulture et du Paysage, CEET - Centre d'études de l'emploi et du travail - CNAM - Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers [CNAM] - M.E.N.E.S.R. - Ministère de l'Education nationale, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche - Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Santé

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Abstract: The representative bureaucracy literature provides a growing body of empirical evidence that a representative public workforce enhances the efficacy and legitimacy of public services. However, little attention has been paid to the capacity of civil service competitive examinations to give equal opportunity of access to public jobs to equally competent citizens. To fill this gap, the authors use French databases to analyze whether competitive examinations comprising both written and oral tests ensure equality of treatment for all candidates regardless of gender, place of residence, or place of birth. The results challenge the capacity of these examinations to treat candidates equally, identifying inequalities in the written tests as well as evaluation biases in the oral tests. However, oral evaluation biases tend to offset inequalities in the written tests. Therefore, selection boards take a sort of affirmative action toward the sole successful members of groups suffering such inequalities.

Date: 2018-07-25
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02156947
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Published in Public Administration Review, Wiley, 2018, 79 (3), pp.370-382. ⟨10.1111/puar.13053⟩

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