Comparing Fictitious and Real Persons: Explaining the Unexplained Ethnic Labor Market Gap from Register Data - a Replication of a Randomized Field Experiment in Sweden
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Residual analyses of register data on labor market outcomes almost always find a substantial unexplained gap between immigrants and natives, or between native groups of different origins, after controlling for human capital variables and other relevant characteristics. This gap is by some scholars interpreted as the result of discrimination. However, the residual approach to discrimination in the labor market has been subject to serious criticism, as the unexplained gap may also be the result of omitted variable bias or measurement errors of the control variables. We shed new light onto this important question by linking register data with field experiment data. With the results from a correspondence test (in which equivalent applications varying only on immigrant background was sent to employers) as the starting point, we use propensity score matching methods to identify real-life ”twins” to the fictive individuals of the correspondence test, i.e., individuals with equivalent characteristics. We thereafter analyze the labor market outcomes of the ”twins” and compare these outcomes with the results of the correspondence test. Since the register data results correspond quite well to those of the correspondence test, we argue that we can with more assurance than before, draw conclusions about discrimination based on results from register data.
ethnicity, immigrants, discrimination, gender, employment gaps, field experiments, propensity score matching, Sweden
Research subject Sociology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-81487OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-81487DiVA: diva2:561947