Correspondence Test Shows Discrimination by School Administrators

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.”

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Reminder: CfP: Discrimination and Racism in Cross-National Perspective

The deadline is approaching soon: 27 November, 2020

For a long time, racism has been studied without references to discrimination and was mainly conceived as a specific expression of prejudice. The retreat from blatant form of racism that were not tolerate any more to more subtle and systemic forms of racism has paved the way for studies on ethnic and racial discrimination and inequalities.

Research on discrimination against immigrants and their descendants has grown significantly in the last twenty years, paralleling the settlement of immigrant populations and the coming of age of the second generations. Studies document differential treatment and discrimination in different markets (e.g. labour market, housing) and social spheres regulated by principles of equality (e.g. school, health service, police). Patterns of discrimination are embedded in institutional contexts and a larger societal environment, characterized not only by economic uncertainties and increasing political polarization in public debate around immigrant related issues, but also by increasing diversity and opportunities of contact. Such changes in the context are likely to affect attitudes and ideology diffusion in majority and minority members. However, studies about discrimination frequently do not refer specifically to racism, and the methodological gains in measuring discrimination did not transfer directly to the measurement of racism. How far racism and ethnic and racial discrimination are distinct, and how they relate to each other are key issues we would like to explore in this panel. In addition to these general questions, we are also interested in papers addressing the consequences of the Covid-19 on ethnic and racial inequalities in health would be very welcomed.

The panel will bring together researchers on discrimination, racism, and inequalities, tackling these issues from various disciplines, theoretical backgrounds and methods. We welcome empirical studies of discrimination patterns across a large variety of domains, theoretical perspectives on how the prevalence of ethnic discrimination and racism should be explained and conceptualized, and studies on the consequences of anti-discrimination policies and legislation, including considerations inequalities in health and racial inequalities and how these can be overcome. We also welcome papers which use and discuss theories about cross-country differences, ethnic hierarchies, and evolution over time.

Submit your abstract specifying the research question, data, methods and findings (200 words maximum) no later than 27 November 2020. For further information get in touch with Didier Ruedin ( The notification of acceptance will be made by 30 November 2020.

Organizer: Patrick Simon (INED), Didier Ruedin (University of Neuchâtel)

Now published in Migration Studies: Higher share of immigrants in one’s occupation = more negative attitudes

Our article is now properly published at Migration Studies. Not satisfied that “threat” and “competition” with foreigners is typically reduced to a measure of education (!), we sought a realistic measure of competition. So we examine the relationship between the share of foreigners at the occupational level — a much more relevant unit of analysis than education levels or the share of foreigners in a geographical unit — and negative attitudes to immigrants. We use objective measures of pressures in the labour-market: the unemployment rate in one’s occupation. At this stage, we find support for “threat” in that a higher share of immigrants is associated with more negative attitudes.

But we didn’t stop there. We find that this relationship can probably be accounted for by sorting on job quality — particularly the association with objective pressures. This sorting is a consequence of selective migration policies, but we also show that the association between the occupational share of foreigners and attitudes decreases for workers with better job prospects: This implies that workers welcome foreigners to overcome labour market shortages. Put differently, we show that workers seem to react to immigrants in a nuanced way.

Pecoraro, Marco, and Didier Ruedin. 2016. ‘A Foreigner Who Does Not Steal My Job: The Role of Unemployment Risk and Values in Attitudes toward Equal Opportunities’. International Migration Review 50 (3): 628–66.
———. 2020. ‘Occupational Exposure to Foreigners and Attitudes towards Equal Opportunities’. Migration Studies 8 (3): 382–423.

Call for Papers — Highly skilled migration in the labour market: Brain waste or brain gain?

IMISCOE Annual Conference 30 June – 1 July 2020, Luxembourg

Highly skilled migration is a major phenomenon in a globalized world with important implications for source and destination countries. In the past, most studies have focused on the so-called brain drain (i.e. human capital emigration from developing countries). Here we seek contributions on the phenomenon of brain waste: the underutilization of migrant education and skills in the host country. Such a labour market mismatch is often referred to as over-education, horizontal mismatch between employment and field of education, or simply skills mismatch. Consider the example of a migrant scientist who works as a taxi driver.

We are seeking innovative quantitative papers that examine the (different) reasons and consequences of educational or skills mismatch, either vertical or horizontal, including contributions to better measurement. Possible research questions are the propensity of immigrants to become self-employed as a result of mismatch, their propensity to (re-) migrate due to mismatch, or their likelihood to send remittances, or the eventual consequence of hosting mismatched immigrants for the host labour market. We particularly welcome papers that fully account for the gender dimension of brain waste.

Papers addressing counterfactuals will be specially welcome: the mismatch a migrant would have experienced – if any – if he or she stayed in the country of origin (the migrant scientist working as a taxi driver may not have found adequate employment in the country of origin).

Conference: IMISCOE Annual Conference, 30 June — 1 July 2020, Luxembourg; see for further information. Conference fee: €200.

Please submit your abstract online (max 200 words) at Deadline: 24 November 2019.

Research group:

Call as PDF: IMISCOE Brain Waste 2020

Join us! Post-doc related to resilience

Apply now for a post-doc position at the School for Teacher Education FHNW to work on resilience related to a project at the NCCR on the move.

Your duties will be in the context of international research on the development of resilience of students through multivariate quantitative research. You will coordinate research projects, collect data, process and evaluate them statistically. Together with the other team members, you will develop new research proposals, support doctoral students, and be actively involved in peer review publications. The position is initially limited until 31.08.2023.

In addition to an above-average doctorate in educational sciences or psychology, you have excellent quantitative research skills and sound theoretical knowledge in developmental psychology and school education. A very good knowledge of German and English is required. Ability to work in a team, ability to work under pressure, flexibility, efficiency, accuracy and a pronounced research motivation round off your profile.

To apply:

Deadline: 27 June 2019

For further information: Wassilis Kassis, Head of Research and Development