Projekt Projekt
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Ethnic Discrimination on the Labor Market in Comparative Perspective

Migration, Integration und interkulturelle Konflikte
Prof. Dr. Bram Lancee (Utrecht University, The Netherlands); Prof. Devah Pager, PhD (Harvard University, USA); Prof. Justine Burns, PhD (Cape Town University, South Africa)

Survey data are one way to study labour market disadvantages of immigrants. But they have the disadvantage that not all differences with natives can be explained away with the available variables. Hence, there is no way to determine with certainty whether the residual gaps are due to discrimination or to other unobserved variables. Audit and correspondence studies have become popular responses to this problem and have demonstrated for a wide range of ethnic groups and countries that discrimination occurs. So far studies have almost exclusively used a paired application design, in which two applications, one native and one from a selected minority group, are sent, which apart from cosmetic details differ only in the ethnicity of the applicant. Widespread as it may be, this design has the major disadvantage that it is diagnostic rather than analytic. It can demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that discrimination occurs – at least for a selected ethnic group – but not whether taste or statistical mechanisms are behind discrimination, nor which characteristics of applicants – their race, religion, cultural or linguistic distance, or specific ethnicity – provoke discrimination. In this project that was started in late 2014 we want to move beyond these limitations by using an unpaired multiple-group, multiple-treatment design in which we vary racial phenotype, religion, as well as ethnicity. Native ethnics are compared to second generation applicants from 34 immigrant ethnic groups. The study is meanwhile underway in Germany, where we aim at a total number of 8000 applications. For her dissertation, Ruta Yemane will implement a similar design in the USA in cooperation with Harvard University, and a South African study is planned in cooperation with the University of Capetown. The German and South African studies allow a direct measurement of racial discrimination because in these countries photographs are allowed or required in the application process. In the USA race will be indirectly signaled by names and ethnic language. The multiple-group design allows regression analyses testing for taste or statistical discrimination, for instance by relating callback rates to cultural distance to the countries of origin (using World Values Survey data) or to group educational and labour market status averages (e.g., using the German Mikrozensus).