When we published our meta-analysis on ethnic discrimination in hiring, we were puzzled about the tests indicating missing (unpublished) studies. The same can also be found for discrimination in the housing market. A while ago, I looked at the Neumark test as a possible explanation. After more reflection (and a discussion with Anthony Heath), I now suggest there might indeed missing studies in the sense of unpublished. Some of the correspondence and audit studies are sponsored by agencies with a clear agenda of showing the existence of discrimination. While for academics a study not finding much discrimination may still be worth purusing as a publication, these agencies who fight racism and discrimination may not. We might be looking at small-scale studies, but still. Let’s be clear though, the ‘true’ level of discrimination we can enumerate in a meta-analysis is not what matters: it’s the fact of consistent and systematic discrimination — and a few ‘missing’ studies cannot change this.
Auspurg, Katrin, Andreas Schneck, and Thomas Hinz. 2018. ‘Closed Doors Everywhere? A Meta-Analysis of Field Experiments on Ethnic Discrimination in Rental Housing Markets’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 0 (0): 1–20. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2018.1489223.
Zschirnt, Eva, and Didier Ruedin. 2016. ‘Ethnic Discrimination in Hiring Decisions: A Meta-Analysis of Correspondence Tests 1990–2015’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 42 (7): 1115–34. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2015.1133279.