A new correspondence study from Denmark shows discrimination by school administrators against parents with ‘Muslim’ names. They sent letters to schools across the country to ask whether they could move their son to that particular school (implying that they were not happy with the current school). 25% of fathers with a ‘Danish’ name (i.e. Peter Nielsen) received a positive answer, compared with 15% of fathers with a ‘Muslim’ name (i.e. Mohammad Osman).
In addition to holding everything constant by using men only (fathers enquiring about their sons), they had a variation in whether the son was a ‘diligent’ student. An interesting qualitative detail is that ‘Muslims’ are more often subjected to additional questions by e-mail (simple questions like verifying they actually live in the catchment area), while the ‘Danes’ were more often asked to call.
I find it interesting that their point of reference were studies on discrimination by public officials (typically politicians), but did not reflect methodological innovations from other correspondence tests, like stimulus sampling (!), or considerations of unmatched designs. I find it disappointing to find that the pre-registration at EGAP leads to a “page not found” error, especially since footnote 1 contains this interesting teaser: “We diverge from the preregistration to limit our focus only to the two variables that were subject to experimental manipulation and causal inference rather than those conditional on posttreatment responses.”
Over at the BI team, there’s a nice summary of the lack of evidence on unconscious bias and diversity training. Note in particular the difference between perceived “effectiveness” and the lack of evidence that behaviour actually changed. As usual, the focus is really on application and the question what should be done. Discrimination is too serious an issue that we can leave it to feel-good check-box exercises!
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.
Our new study examines how residents in Switzerland perceive migration-related social change in their municipality, their place of work, and in public. We left the ivory tower and listened. The result is a detailed and diverse picture: Migration is perceived as part of social change more widely, but it’s not migration as such that evokes threat. Perceptions of threat and fear are a side-effect of wider social change and economic growth, such as changes to the built environment because of new buildings, cars and transportation, and a perceived impoverishment of social life. It is clear that a majority seek communities with local opportunities to meet and exchange, but many also recognize that the world changes.
In case anyone has missed the latest update of MIPEX, it’s out now. Migrant integration policies in countries across 5 continents. 52 countries, 8 policy areas, each of which with separate indicators. If you ever wanted to know which countries had strong anti-discrimination policies (and which don’t), head over to https://www.mipex.eu/anti-discrimination for a quick enlightenment.