The chance of influence: A natural experiment on the role of social capital infaculty recruitment
NL : Elsevier
60 - 75 p.
Recruitment, Networks, Social capital, Academia, Causality, Transformation des inégalités
The effect of social capital is often overestimated because contacts and centrality can be a consequence of success rather than its cause. Only rare randomized or natural experiments can assess the real causal effect of social capital. This paper relies on data from one such experiment: faculty recruitment at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) between 1960 and 2005, a leading French institution of higher education in the social sciences. It exploits the fact that the electoral commission, a hiring committee which produces a first ranking of applicants, is partly composed of faculty members drawn at random. It shows that when the PhD advisor is randomly drawn, it doubles the chances of an applicant of being shortlisted.