Panel Paper: The Demand for Interns

Thursday, November 2, 2017
Soldier Field (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

R Alan Seals Seals, Auburn University

We first describe the demand for interns. By processing the text of all available ads on a popular internship website, we are able to characterize the occupation that best matches the advertised internship. We also match each internship ad to its local labor market. We find that internships in loose labor markets are more likely to be unpaid. Paid internships are in occupations that have higher wages, require less on the job training, and are more quantitative. We then conduct an audit study with more than 11,500 résumés, where we randomly assign student characteristics and apply to internships. We find that employers are more likely to respond to an application when they are looking for an unpaid intern. We find little effect of major field of study, volunteer experience, and college work experience on employer callbacks and some evidence that a higher GPA and previous internship experience increases positive employer responses. Black applicants receive fewer positive responses than white applicants, but this is entirely driven by greater discrimination against black-named applicants living far away from employer.