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Comparing Fictitious and Real Persons: Explaining the Unexplained Ethnic Labor Market Gap from Register Data - a Replication of a Randomized Field Experiment in Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

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.

Keyword [en]
ethnicity, immigrants, discrimination, gender, employment gaps, field experiments, propensity score matching, Sweden
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-81487OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-81487DiVA: diva2:561947
Available from: 2012-10-22 Created: 2012-10-22 Last updated: 2012-10-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Ethnic Discrimination, Name Change and Labor Market Inequality: Mixed approaches to ethnic exclusion in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ethnic Discrimination, Name Change and Labor Market Inequality: Mixed approaches to ethnic exclusion in Sweden
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis consists of four empirical studies on ethnic integration in the Swedish labor market. Studies I-III draw on a field experiment testing ethnic discrimination in the hiring process.

Study I documents the existence of employer discrimination in response to equally merited applications with Arabic/African or Swedish names, and shows that foreign-named applicants have to send twice as many applications to receive a callback compared to Swedish-named applicants. Results also suggest that employers in female-dense occupations practice ethnic and gender compensation while employers in male-dense occupations practice only gender compensation.

Study II reveals gendered differences in the intensity of employer stereotypes by testing how much more work experience is needed to eliminate the disadvantage of having an Arabic name on a job application. Results indicate a reverse gender gap, as initial differences in call-backs disappear for female applicants when CVs for Arabic-named applications are enhanced but remain strong and significant for male applicants.

Study III evaluates criticism directed at residual analysis and field experiments that claims that they tell us nothing about real world discrimination and its long-term effects. By combining experimental and register data, Study III responds to this criticism by showing that the results of Study I correspond closely with real world labor market inequality of identical ‘twins’ (identified through propensity score matching) to the fictive individuals of Study I.

Study IV explores the strategies underlying surname change from a Middle Eastern name to a more Swedish sounding one, drawing on 45 interviews with surname changers with a Middle Eastern background. The results indicate that immigrant name change is a pragmatic assimilation strategy. The study also illustrates how the institutional enabling of name change both creates and enables pragmatic assimilation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2012. 47 p.
Series
Stockholm studies in sociology, ISSN 0491-0885 ; N.S., 54
Keyword
ethnicity, ethnic discrimination, employment gaps, field experiment, correspondence test, gender, sex segregation, name change, stigma, pragmatic assimilation, mixed methods, Sweden
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-79041 (URN)978-91-87235-08-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-11-30, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Submitted. Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2012-11-08 Created: 2012-08-24 Last updated: 2015-06-16Bibliographically approved

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