We’re hiring a postdoc to research human migration and mobility.
You have a PhD in migration, sociology, demography, economics, public health, or similar (max. 5 years since PhD). You have quantitative skills (p.ex. causal inference, survey experiments, big data, text-as-data), and you’re hungry to develop your own research.
Using the current pandemic as an example, we show that social and economic crises do not necessarily translate into increased levels of ethnic discrimination. We repeated a field experiment in the housing market, and find no clear evidence of increased discrimination against the most important immigrant groups in Switzerland.
How does this fit with accounts of increased levels of hate speech, especially at the beginning of the pandemic? We think it is important to differentiate between “cheap” behaviour that does not cost the perpetrator much (hate speech, exclusionary attitudes) and “costly” behaviour where the perpetrators take a risk (e.g. risk of not rending out an apartment, risk of not hiring the best candidate). Moreover, we think it is important to recognize that crises not only affect boundary making and exclusion (that’s what social theory tells us), but also increase economic uncertainty — a change that affects how (economic) actors behave.
Auer, Daniel, Didier Ruedin, and Eva Van Belle. 2023. ‘No Sign of Increased Ethnic Discrimination during a Crisis: Evidence from the Covid-19 Pandemic’. Socio-Economic Review. DOI: 10.1093/ser/mwac069
The Neuchâtel Graduate Conference provides a stimulating environment for doctoral and postdoctoral researchers from different universities and research institutions to exchange ideas, establish networks, and initiate collaborative research.
We are hereby delighted to publish the call for contributions for the NGC 2023 on the topic of Migration and Im/Mobility in Times of Entangled Crises: Concepts, Practices, and Governance.
At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s been an increase in hate-crime again Asians in many countries around the world. Some identified more negative attitudes against immigrants — a classic case of what is known as scapegoating.
In this article, just out at the Socio-Economic Review, we wanted to know if scapegoating and discrimination of minorities is a defining feature of crises. That’s what social theory argues. In the present case, we wanted to know if ethnic discrimination increased, too — the actual (and consequential) behaviour where minorities are invited less often to view apartments they want to rent. To do so, we replicated a field experiment in the Swiss housing market at the beginning of the pandemic.
Overall, we find no evidence of increased discrimination against the most important immigrant groups in Switzerland. When digging deeper, we found that uncertainty in the housing market was important. Rather than excluding immigrants more often, proprietors and rental agencies seem to have changed their selection behaviour and focus on different signals or markers of solvency and reliability: Instead of ethnicity/minority status, now immigrants with highly skilled jobs were at an advantage.
We conclude that crises do not necessarily increase discriminatory behaviour in market situations.