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Does Ethnic Discrimination Vary Across Minority Groups? Evidence from a Field Experiment


  • Alison L. Booth
  • Andrew Leigh
  • Elena Varganova


We conduct a large-scale audit discrimination study to measure labor market discrimination across different minority groups in Australia – a country where one quarter of the population was born overseas. To denote ethnicity, we use distinctively Anglo-Saxon, Indigenous, Italian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern names, and our goal is a comparison across multiple ethnic groups rather than focusing on a single minority as in most other studies. In all cases, we applied for entry-level jobs and submitted a CV showing that the candidate had attended high school in Australia. We find economically and statistically significant differences in callback rates, suggesting that ethnic minority candidates would need to apply for more jobs in order to receive the same number of interviews. These differences vary systematically across groups, with Italians (a more established migrant group) suffering less discrimination than Chinese and Middle Easterners (who have typically arrived more recently). We also explore various explanations for our empirical findings.
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  • Alison L. Booth & Andrew Leigh & Elena Varganova, 2012. "Does Ethnic Discrimination Vary Across Minority Groups? Evidence from a Field Experiment," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 74(4), pages 547-573, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:obuest:v:74:y:2012:i:4:p:547-573
    DOI: j.1468-0084.2011.00664.x

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    Cited by:

    1. Heather Antecol & Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Eric Helland, 2014. "Bias in the Legal Profession: Self-Assessed versus Statistical Measures of Discrimination," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 323-357.
    2. Mujcic, Redzo & Frijters, Paul, 2013. "Still Not Allowed on the Bus: It Matters If You're Black or White!," IZA Discussion Papers 7300, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. 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.
    4. Anthony Edo & Nicolas Jacquemet & Constantine Yannelis, 2013. "Language Skills and Homophilous Hiring Discrimination: Evidence from Gender- and Racially-Differentiated Applications," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 13058, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    5. Brit Grosskopf & Graeme Pearce, 2016. "Do you mind me paying less? Measuring Other-Regarding Preferences in the Market for Taxis," Natural Field Experiments 00556, The Field Experiments Website.
    6. Nunley John M. & Pugh Adam & Romero Nicholas & Seals R. Alan, 2015. "Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market for Recent College Graduates: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(3), pages 1093-1125, July.
    7. Eva O. Arceo-Gomez & Raymundo M. Campos-Vazquez, 2014. "Race and Marriage in the Labor Market: A Discrimination Correspondence Study in a Developing Country," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 376-380, May.
    8. Rich, Judy, 2014. "What Do Field Experiments of Discrimination in Markets Tell Us? A Meta Analysis of Studies Conducted since 2000," IZA Discussion Papers 8584, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. repec:eee:ecolet:v:155:y:2017:i:c:p:35-38 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:hal:journl:hal-00745109 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:bla:ecorec:v:93:y:2017:i:301:p:238-254 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Weichselbaumer, Doris, 2015. "Discrimination against Migrants in Austria: An Experimental Study," IZA Discussion Papers 9354, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. repec:hal:cesptp:hal-00745109 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Baert, Stijn, 2017. "Hiring Discrimination: An Overview of (Almost) All Correspondence Experiments Since 2005," IZA Discussion Papers 10738, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Stefan C. Wolter & Maria Zumbuehl, 2017. "The native-migrant gap in the progression into and through upper-secondary education," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0139, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    16. Zschirnt, Eva & Ruedin, Didier, 2016. "Ethnic discrimination in hiring decisions: A meta-analysis of correspondence tests 1990–2015," EconStor Preprints 142176, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    17. repec:eee:jeborg:v:141:y:2017:i:c:p:29-42 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Tjaden, Jasper Dag & Schwemmer, Carsten & Khadjavi, Menusch, 2017. "Ride with me: Ethnic discrimination in social markets," Kiel Working Papers 2087, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    19. Baert, Stijn & Norga, Jennifer & Thuy, Yannick & Van Hecke, Marieke, 2016. "Getting grey hairs in the labour market. An alternative experiment on age discrimination," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 86-101.
    20. Juliet Pietsch, 2017. "Diverse Outcomes: Social Citizenship and the Inclusion of Skilled Migrants in Australia," Social Inclusion, Cogitatio Press, vol. 5(1), pages 32-44.
    21. Maitreyi Bordia Das, 2016. "All in my Head? The Play of Exclusion and Discrimination in the Labor Market," Journal of International Commerce, Economics and Policy (JICEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 7(02), pages 1-20, June.
    22. Carlsson, Magnus & Fumarco, Luca & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2018. "Does Labor Market Tightness Affect Ethnic Discrimination in Hiring?," IZA Discussion Papers 11285, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments


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