Structural racism in Switzerland

Structural racism is a reality. We were asked by the Service for Combating Racism to gather existing evidence for structural racism. Today, the results are announced (press release in German, French, Italian). There are accessible 10-page summaries available in German, French, and Italian, and more detailed 50-page reports in German, French, and Italian over at the website of the SFM. For those interested in more technical details, or a brief overview in English, there’s an online appendix.

To synthesize the literature, we chose a scoping review, in which we screened around 1,500 studies to identify 304 studies that treat structural racism in Switzerland broadly defined. Only studies with empirical evidence were used, and only those who covered the situation in Switzerland. In addition, we used interviews to better make sense of the results, and to provide a contemporary understanding of structural racism. Our contribution was the synthesis, not the knowledge that was already out there — albeit scattered in different places.

Drawing on a conceptual frame by Osta and Vasquez (2021), we approached structural racism with three components (history, policies, practices; inequitable outcomes, disparities; associations, stereotypes, assumptions) and connections between these components. All methods identify racial inequalities, racialized practices, or racist stereotypes across spheres and groups. Many studies draw on migration and nationality for classification, and most studies provide partial evidence, but when considered jointly, the existing literature provides a clear picture consistent with structural racism.

Out now — No Sign of Increased Ethnic Discrimination during a Crisis: Evidence from the Covid-19 Pandemic

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.

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

Blog: How can previous public health emergencies help us understand the COVID-19 travel restrictions?

Over at GLOBALCIT, we have a blog post on our recent research note on Covid-19 travel restrictions. We ask what we can learn from previous public health emergencies, and use this as the basis to discuss 5 research avenues that can advance our understanding of the effects of a public health emergency on the global mobility regime.

Read on here:

Read the research note:

Piccoli, Lorenzo, Jelena Dzankic, Timothy Jacobs-Owen, and Didier Ruedin. 2022. ‘Restricting Human Movement during the COVID-19 Pandemic: New Research Avenues in the Study of Mobility, Migration, and Citizenship’. International Migration Review.

Published: How Political Reception Contexts Shape Location Decisions of Immigrants

Our article on how immigrants decide where to live once they have come to live in a country is now properly published.

Using a conjoint survey experiment with a representative sample of recently arrived immigrants, we established that both political and economic factors play a role in location decisions. In the literature on location choice, economic consideration (e.g., taxes) are often highlighted. Here we show that financial considerations are not everything: the parties in power, the integration policies, etc. also play a role.

The article is available online for everyone to read, but you can also watch a summary:

Bennour, Salomon, Anita Manatschal, and Didier Ruedin. 2022. ‘How Political Reception Contexts Shape Location Decisions of Immigrants’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 48 (19): 4730–53. More.

Out now: Restricting Human Movement during the COVID-19 Pandemic: New Research Avenues in the Study of Mobility, Migration, and Citizenship

I’m happy to announce that our research note on studying border closures and related restrictions to human mobility in the context of Covid-19 is now available at the International Migration Review.

We highlight how restrictions to human mobility were far from uniform across time and countries. The research note identifies 7 different databases that systematically collected information on these restrictions, which should help others identify the right database — they vary in what exactly they cover.

We also present possible research avenues in connection with these data on mobility restrictions: (1) drivers of Covid-19 mobility restrictions, (2) patterns of policy convergence and divergence, (3) the legality of mobility restrictions, (4) continuity and change in global migration policy, (5) citizenship and international mobility rights. In all these cases, data on restrictions during the pandemic can significantly advance research on the governance of mobility, migration, and citizenship.

Piccoli, Lorenzo, Jelena Dzankic, Didier Ruedin, and Timothy Jacobs-Owen. 2022. “Restricting Human Movement during the COVID-19 Pandemic: New Research Avenues in the Study of Mobility, Migration, and Citizenship.” International Migration Review. doi: 10.1177/01979183221118907.