Our publication on hiring discrimination against Blacks in Switzerland is now properly published at JEMS. Using a correspondence test, we find the unfortunately usual pattern of discrimination in Switzerland, too.Continue reading “Out now: Hiring Discrimination on the Basis of Skin Colour”
Straight from the excellent The Behavioural Insights Team:
They experimentally modified job adverts — “switched the default, so that all new vacancies would be advertised as available for part-time work, or as a job-share, in addition to full-time”
What do you get? “significant increase of 16.4% in the proportion of female applicants”
Today I’m giving you the first national field experiment on ethnic discrimination in the housing market. Financed by the Swiss Office for Housing and the NCCR on the move, we examined to what extent one’s name affects the likelihood to be invited to view an apartment. We covered the entire country, across language regions and across urban and rural areas.
Between March and October 2018, our diligent research assistants sent more than 11,000 enquiries to over 5,700 landlords in all parts of Switzerland. We varied the name of the person sending an enquiry (stimulus sampling) along with other features such as politeness or the family situation. Overall over 70% of the enquiries were answered positively in the sense of an invitation to view the apartment or steps in this direction.
We find no clear differences between commercial and private landlords. The response rate for women was around 1 percent higher, while highly qualified people had a 2 percent higher response rate, especially academics who use their doctoral title (we dind’t expect this to make such a big difference when we designed the study). As previous field experiments have shown, the quality of the message we sent affected the probability of a response: Compared to a standard text, the response rate for friendlier queries is about 5 percent higher, while queries with the default text from online portals show a 10 percent lower response rate.
We find evidence of ethnic discrimination in the sense of unequal treatment based on the name. Enquiries with names from neighbouring countries (Germany, Italy, France) were even invited somewhat more frequently to view apartments than those from Switzerland, but people with Kosovar (response rate just under 3 percent lower) or Turkish names (response rate about 5 percent lower) have significantly fewer chances of being invited for a viewing. Whether those interested were naturalised with foreign-sounding names or stated that they had a permanent residence permit was hardly a factor. The rate of discrimination we observe is similar in order of magnitude to that found in comparable studies in other Western countries.
With the national coverage, we can also observe variation in responses by local context where the property is located. In municipalities with higher rental prices, the positive response rate is higher for everyone, and a higher vacancy rate in the municipality is associated with a higher response rate, except for people with Kosovar names. In urban areas the probability of discriminating against people with foreign names is lower. We also find that people with foreign-sounding names are less likely to be invited in municipalities with restrictive political attitudes towards immigration (as measured in the results of popular initiatives and referendums).
Auer, Daniel, Julie Lacroix, Didier Ruedin, and Eva Zschirnt. 2019. ‘Ethnische Diskriminierung auf dem Schweizer Wohnungsmarkt’. Grenchen: BWO. https://www.bwo.admin.ch/bwo/de/home/Wohnungsmarkt/studien-und-publikationen/diskriminierung-auf-der-schweizer-wohnungsmarkt.html.
The BBC report on a large correspondent test in the UK carried out by the excellent GEMM project. It’s good to see this reach a wider audience; it’s sad to see the results from our meta-analysis confirmed once again.
British citizens from ethnic minority backgrounds have to send, on average, 60% more job applications to get a positive response from employers compared to their white counterparts
What I really like about this short report by the BBC is that the essentials are covered. Yes we see discrimination, but no, it’s not so bad that none of the minority applicants would ever succeed. They also start the piece with an example of someone changing their name on the CV as a strategy to counter expected (or experienced) discrimination — and they highlight that discrimination has not declined despite policy changes, and indeed that discrimination affects native citizens who happen to have a ‘foreign’ name: they pay for an action of their parents or grandparents.
Are employers in Britain discriminating against ethnic minorities?, GEMM project: PDF of report
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.
Are you planning to run a field experiment, perhaps even on discrimination in hiring decisions? As a complement to our meta-analysis of existing field experiments on ethnic discrimination in hiring, you could do worse than reading two recent working papers by my co-author Eva Zschirnt: In one, she outlines the history of field experiments in much more detail than a journal article can do, in the other she collects ethical considerations in a single place.
Zschirnt, Eva. 2016a. ‘Measuring Hiring Discrimination – A History of Field Experiments in Discrimination Research’. NCCR On the Move Working Paper Series 7 (May): 1–32.
———. 2016b. ‘Revisiting Ethics in Correspondence Testing’. NCCR On the Move Working Paper Series 8 (May): 1–26.
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.