We’re now hiring a postdoctoral researcher (4 years, 70% FTE) for a project on overcoming inequalities and ethnic discrimination in the labour market. The project is jointly with Wassilis Kassis. You’ll be working at the University of Neuchâtel, and will be joined by a doctoral students by the end of the year. Full advert here: http://nccr-onthemove.ch/wp_live14/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/IP26-Jobs-NCCR-Phase-II-UNINE-PD.pdf
A new meta-analysis draws on correspondence tests in the US to show that levels of ethnic discrimination in hiring do not seem to have changed much since 1989. This persistence in racial discrimination is bad news, and indeed Eva Zschirnt and I have shown the same result across OECD countries a year ago. While policies have changed, especially in the European Union, looking at the ‘average’ from correspondence tests suggests that they may not have been effective — and that is bad news.
Correspondence tests are widely accepted as a means to identify the existence of ethnic discrimination in the labour market, and as field experiments they are in a relatively good position to make the causal claims we typically want to make. It turns out that most correspondence tests have not paid sufficient attention to heterogeneity, which — as David Neumark and Judith Rich demonstrate — means that they likely over-estimate the degree of discrimination. Unfortunately, most old studies did not vary the groups in a way that this could be fixed post-hoc. If we throw these out of the meta-analysis, we probably no longer have sufficient studies to make claims about changes over time.
Meta-analyses are no doubt an important tool of science, but there’s always a delicate balance to be struck: are the experiments included really comparable? Here we’re looking at field experiments in different countries, different labour markets, different jobs, and different ethnic groups. We can control for these factors in the meta-analysis, but with the limited number of studies we have, this might not be sufficient to silence critics. With correspondence tests, we only cover entry-level jobs, and despite much more fine-graded studies going into the field recently, we don’t have a tool to really identify why discrimination takes place.
Neumark, David, and Judith Rich. 2016. ‘Do Field Experiments on Labor and Housing Markets Overstate Discrimination? Re-Examination of the Evidence’. NBER Working Papers w22278 (May). http://www.nber.org/papers/w22278.pdf.
Quillian, Lincoln, Devah Pager, Ole Hexel, and Arnfinn H. Midtbøen. 2017. ‘Meta-Analysis of Field Experiments Shows No Change in Racial Discrimination in Hiring over Time’. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September, 201706255. doi:10.1073/pnas.1706255114.
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. doi:10.1080/1369183X.2015.1133279.
Image: CC-by CharlotWest
It’s nice to see IMISCOE keep growing (now 39 member institutes), with the biggest ever conference just finished. More importantly, the conference is increasingly well attended, and we no longer have to struggle to find decent quantitative panels or economists attending. That’s an encouraging sign.
Our IMISCOE research group on brain waste in the labour market had another successful high-level panel, and I’ve seen excellent work on discrimination in the labour market and immigrant integration. Perhaps it’s time to drop the E (for Europe) in IMISCOE…?
A ‘social experiment’ in Germany, where they added signs on the bus to
ask order foreigners to sit at the back. Passengers won’t accept this and step in when actors try to ‘enforce’ the ‘rule’.