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Is It How You Look or Speak That Matters?: An Experimental Study Exploring the Mechanisms ofEthnic Discrimination
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
2011 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Using a unique laboratory experiment where subjects are asked to guess the test per-formance of candidates presented by facial portraits and voice messages, this paperexplores the following questions: Are beliefs about performance affected by if a can-didate is perceived to have looks that are non-stereotypical for the dominant pop-ulation and do these beliefs change if the candidate has native-like versus accentedspeech? The experiment is conducted in Sweden and the results show that candi-dates not perceived as stereotypically Swedish are considered to be worse perform-ers. These beliefs are found in within-gender but not in cross-gender evaluationsand are not eliminated when additional performance-related information about thecandidates is provided. When candidates are presented by both looks and speech,differential evaluations based on looks disappear. Instead, we find strong negativebeliefs about performance for candidates that speak Swedish with a foreign accentimplying that ethnic stereotypes associated with speech override stereotypes associ-ated with appearance. The negative beliefs associated with foreign-accented speechare not supported by corresponding mean differences in the candidates’ actual testperformance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 50 p.
SULCIS reports and working papers, ISSN 1654-1189 ; 2011:3
Keyword [en]
Experiment, Appearance, Speech, Beliefs, Performance, Stereotypes
National Category
Economics Sociology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-118311OAI: diva2:821626
Available from: 2015-06-15 Created: 2015-06-15 Last updated: 2015-06-16Bibliographically approved

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