Some reflections on MIPEX in German over at the NCCR blog

Together with Gianni D’Amato and Denise Efionayi-Mäder, I have written up some reflections on the new MIPEX results for Switzerland (in German):

We highlight the comparatively poor protection against discrimination in Switzerland, despite growing attention to Black Lives Matter and racism. We encourage policy comparison not to copy and past policies, but to encourage local solutions to do more.

Incidentally, the new results from MIPEX present nothing new — Swiss immigrant integration policies have been stable in the last few years (though historically they have changed much).

Should we come across as criticizing Swiss policy, let’s not forget the innovative and positive policies on health care in Switzerland (ranked “favourable” by MIPEX).

MIPEX 2020 to launch on 9 December

Yes, MIPEX has been brought up to date! The global launch is due:

After months working together with local partners, MPG is now happy to invite you to the International Launch of MIPEX2020 taking place on December 9 from 2PM-3.30PM CET. The event will take place via Zoom Webinar and we very much look forward to welcoming you all to have an enriching discussion about MIPEX2020, its different areas, indicators, and international trends on integration policies. 

You’ll have to register by 6 December 2020: Link to invitation and registration

Ethnic discrimination in hiring: UK edition

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.


A colleague recently commented that he is confused where I stand with regard to the academic use of MIPEX data. Apparently I have been rather critical and quite enthusiastic about it. I guess this sums it up quite well. I’ve always been critical of the (historical) lack of a theoretical base for the indicators used, and the often uncritical use of the aggregate scores as indicators of ‘immigration policy’ in the literature. I’m enthusiastic about its coverage (compared to other indices), the effort to keep it up-to-date, and the availability of the detailed data.

A few years back, I verified that it is OK to use the MIPEX as a scale (as is often done), highlighting redundancy in the items and that such scales could be improved:

In the context of the SOM project, we have demonstrated that it is feasible to expand the MIPEX indicators back in time. We did so for 7 countries back to 1995. I refined these data by using the qualitative descriptions provided to identify the year of the change, giving year-on-year changes since 1995 for the 7 SOM countries. These data are experimental in that they rely on the documentation and not original research. If that’s not enough, Camilla and I have then created a complete time series of the MIPEX indicators in Switzerland since 1848. This showed that we definitely can go back in time, but also that quite a few of the things MIPEX measures were not regulated a century ago.

Even with the short time in the SOM data, these data are quite insightful:

Later I provided a different approach: re-assembling! The idea is generic and does not apply to the MIPEX alone: make use of the many indicators in the database, but use your own theory to pick and choose the ones you consider most appropriate (rather than be constrained by the presentation in the MIPEX publications). I have demonstrated that the MIPEX data can be used to closely approximate the Koopmans et al. data, but immediately cover a wider range of countries and observe changes over time. Now we can have theory and coverage!

And yes, we can apply these data to gain new insights, like the nature of the politicization of immigrant groups:


Sometimes we want to present events on a timeline to see how they developed. I have done this for referendums on immigration in Switzerland, but there are many other applications in research.

If you are looking for a free (as in open source), flexible, cross-platform application to create such timelines, look no further than the Timeline project. The web page is not the most appealing one, but the application does great timelines. The file format is a very (human) readable XML, so you need not fear lock in.

Features are given as:

– Scroll and zoom with mouse wheel (quite useful for longer timelines)
– Different representation depending on zoom level (so intuitive you won’t notice this)
– Go to a specific date, search events
– Organize events in hierarchical categories (this I find quite useful for research)
– Move and resize events with the mouse
– Duplicate events
– Export to image, text lists (great for smaller timelines), CSV (should that XML be too much of a challenge)

Where it could improve: more styling and better export to images. Well, it does do SVG export, so styling can readily be done in Inkscape or so.