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Why Do Skilled Immigrants Struggle in the Labor Market? A Field Experiment with Thirteen Thousand Resumes

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  • Philip Oreopoulos

Abstract

Thousands of randomly manipulated resumes were sent in response to online job postings in Toronto to investigate why immigrants, allowed in based on skill, struggle in the labor market. The study finds substantial discrimination across a variety of occupations towards applicants with foreign experience or those with Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, and Greek names compared with English names. Listing language fluency, multinational firm experience, education from highly selective schools, or active extracurricular activities had no diminishing effect. Recruiters justify this behavior based on language skill concerns but fail to fully account for offsetting features when listed. (JEL J15, J24, J61)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 148-71

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:3:y:2011:i:4:p:148-71

Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.3.4.148
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  1. Dennis J. Aigner & Glen G. Cain, 1977. "Statistical theories of discrimination in labor markets," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(2), pages 175-187, January.
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  5. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2003. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 9873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Jacquemet, Nicolas & Yannelis, Constantine, 2012. "Indiscriminate discrimination: A correspondence test for ethnic homophily in the Chicago labor market," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 824-832.
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  8. P. A. Riach & J. Rich, 2002. "Field Experiments of Discrimination in the Market Place," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 480-518, November.
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  10. David Card & Richard B. Freeman, 1993. "Introduction to "Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States"," NBER Chapters, in: Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States, pages 1-20 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2010. "Automatic associations and discrimination in hiring: Real world evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 523-534, June.
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  13. Charles Beach & Alan G. Green & Christopher Worswick, 2006. "Impacts of the Point System and Immigration Policy Levers on Skill Characteristics of Canadian Immigrants," Working Papers 1115, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  14. Frenette, Marc Morissette, Rene, 2003. "Will They Ever Converge? Earnings of Immigrants and Canadian-born Workers over the Last Two Decades," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2003215e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
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Cited by:
  1. Doris Weichselbaumer, 2013. "Testing for discrimination against lesbians of different marital status: A field experiment," Economics working papers 2013-08, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  2. Daldy, Bridget & Poot, Jacques & Roskruge, Matthew, 2013. "Perception of Workplace Discrimination among Immigrants and Native Born New Zealanders," IZA Discussion Papers 7504, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln & Prachi Mishra, 2014. "The Dynamics of Firm Lobbying," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp1072, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  4. Liliana D. Sousa, 2013. "Human Capital Traps? Enclave Effects Using Linked Employer-Household Data," Working Papers 13-29, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  5. Sweetman, Arthur & van Ours, Jan C., 2014. "Immigration: What about the Children and Grandchildren?," IZA Discussion Papers 7919, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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