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Can immigrants counteract employer discrimination? A factorial field experiment reveals the immutability of ethnic hierarchies
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
Number of Authors: 22019 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 14, no 7, article id e0218044Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

How pervasive is labor market discrimination against immigrants and what options do policymakers and migrants have to reduce it? To answer these questions, we conducted a field experiment on employer discrimination in Sweden. Going beyond existing work, we test for a large range of applicant characteristics using a factorial design. We examine whether migrants can affect their employment chances by adopting citizenship, acquiring work experience, or signaling religious practice or whether fixed traits such as country of birth or gender are more consequential. We find little systematic evidence that immigrants can do much to reduce discrimination. Rather, ethnic hierarchies are critical: callback rates decline precipitously with the degree of ethno-cultural distance, leaving Iraqis and Somalis, especially if they are male, with much reduced employment chances. These findings highlight that immigrants have few tools at their disposal to escape ethnic penalties and that efforts to reduce discrimination must address employer prejudice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 14, no 7, article id e0218044
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Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-173027DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0218044ISI: 000482335700009PubMedID: 31339894OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-173027DiVA, id: diva2:1356842
Available from: 2019-10-02 Created: 2019-10-02 Last updated: 2019-10-02Bibliographically approved

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