Support for their Hypothesis…

I’m just going through some reviewer comments on a paper I have no stake in at all, and came across this gem:

The study finds support in favour of their hypothesis.

This was highlighted as a key strength of the study. Let’s not quibble about hypotheses here, but let’s focus on the explicit value for a “positive” result. This matters, because it’s peer review, and it’s the standards we have as reviewers that shape what gets published (and where). This focus on positive results does not help us move forward with actually understanding what’s going on — but then a cynic would see a quite different role for publications anyway.

Peering over the shoulders of recruiters: Hiring discrimination on a recruitment platform

Here’s an exciting new study on hiring discrimination. They got access to the behavioural data of online recruiters to find evidence of discrimination against atypical candidates: Contact rates by recruiters are 4–19% lower for individuals from immigrant and minority ethnic groups, depending on their country of origin, than for citizens from the majority group. Women experience a penalty of 7% in professions that are dominated by men, and the opposite pattern emerges for men in professions that are dominated by women.

I find it interesting that they pitch their method as an alternative to correspondence tests (perhaps not all that novel if we’re looking outside the strict focus on hiring discrimination). We’re seeing an increasing number of correspondence tests in recent years, despite important ethical concerns. Not all of them are reasonably motivated, in my view — “no recent correspondence test” in a particular country/for a particular group/occupation does not cut it for me –, but jointly these studies give us a pretty clear picture of discrimination (especially in Western countries). Access to recruiting databases may not be possible in all countries, and we’re still struggling with the blatant omission of informal labour markets and internal recruitment. On the other hand, at least in principle we could test different interfaces and see if we can reduce discrimination this way…

An Ode to Low R2

Yes, grading again, but I really need to re-share this “ode to low R²”! Yes, in many cases low R² are great…

Didier Ruedin

It’s the time of the year when many of us do their share of grading. In my case, it’s quantitative projects, and every time I’m impressed how much the students learn. One thing that annoys me sometimes is to see how many of them (MA students) insist on interpreting R2 in absolute terms (rather than to compare similar models, for instance). That’s something they seem to learn in their BA course:

[in this simple model with three predictor variables], we only explain 3% of the variance; it’s a ‘bad’ model.

I paraphrased, of course. But I started to like low R2: They are a testament to the complexity of humans and their social world. They are a testament to the fact that we are not machines, we are in the world where quantitative analysis is about tendencies. Just imagine a world in which knowing your age and…

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Call for Papers: The impact of Black Lives Matter and Covid-19 on Public Attitudes to Immigrants

Call for Papers: The impact of Black Lives Matter and Covid-19 on Public Attitudes to Immigrants
ECPR General Conference, 31 August- 3 September 2021, University of Innsbruck

When it comes to attitudes to immigrants and their rights, 2020 has seen two major events: the Black Lives Matter protests in the US triggered by the killing of George Floyd, and the global Covid-19 pandemic. In this panel, we seek innovative empirical contributions that study how these events affected social norms and in turn affected attitudes to immigrants or related discrimination. On the one hand, the pandemic a priori heightens distinctions between in-groups and out-groups, which leads to more negative attitudes. The crisis may further create a fertile ground for xenophobia and nationalist tendencies due to increased feelings of fear, threat, uncertainty, and anxiety, which may result in discriminating behaviour. What is more, scapegoating of immigrants and health-related negative stereotypes may surface during the health crisis. On the other hand, the media coverage of Black Lives Matter increased awareness of structural racism and spread the perspective of racial and ethnic minorities. As a result of this, European respondents may have developed more nuanced attitudes to minority groups, and the salience of the news coverage may have led to extended contact and perspective taking that reduce negative stereotypes and will lead to more positive attitudes. We expect temporal and geographic variation to yield insightful comparisons, while experimental studies can reveal likely mechanisms how these major events affected attitudes and discrimination. We also welcome experimental and observational papers explicitly accounting for the intersectionality of categories of difference, e.g. ethnicity, race, religiosity or gender, in triggering prejudice and discrimination.

Panel chairs: Didier Ruedin (University of Neuchâtel, didier.ruedin@unine.ch), Anita Manatschal (University of Neuchâtel, anita.manatschal@unine.ch)

Conference: https://ecpr.eu/GeneralConference

Submit your abstract (max 250 words) online at: http://neuchatel.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_50YdsmYRd5bwZWB no later than 1 February 2021.

Call as PDF

Yes, migration intentions predict migration flows

A new paper by Philippe Wanner demonstrates that migration intentions are closely related to actual migration flows. Using individual-level data from Switzerland, he studied recently arrived immigrants in Switzerland, comparing state migration intentions and actual migration 2 years later.

96% of migrants who wanted to stay in Switzerland actually stayed and 71% of those who wanted to leave the country actually left. Overall, intentions were a good predictor of behaviors

Wanner, Philippe. 2020. ‘Can Migrants’ Emigration Intentions Predict Their Actual Behaviors? Evidence from a Swiss Survey’. Journal of International Migration and Integration. doi: 10.1007/s12134-020-00798-7.