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The Ethnic Employment and Income Gap in Sweden: Is Skill or Labor Market Discrimination the Explanation?


  • Martin Nordin
  • Dan-Olof Rooth


This study uses a cognitive test score, the Swedish Military Enlistment test taken at age 18, to identify whether the ethnic employment and income gap in Sweden is caused by a pre-market skill gap and/or ethnic discrimination. The employment gap and income gap are estimated for males born in Sweden with different ethnic backgrounds: their parents were born in Sweden or in southern Europe or outside Europe. Controlling for the cognitive test score does not affect the ethnic employment gap, and for incomes the ethnic income gap almost disappears. Copyright © The editors of the "Scandinavian Journal of Economics" 2009. .

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  • Martin Nordin & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2009. "The Ethnic Employment and Income Gap in Sweden: Is Skill or Labor Market Discrimination the Explanation?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 111(3), pages 487-510, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:111:y:2009:i:3:p:487-510

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hansen, Karsten T. & Heckman, James J. & Mullen, K.J.Kathleen J., 2004. "The effect of schooling and ability on achievement test scores," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 39-98.
    2. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J & Masterov, Dimitriy V, 2005. "Labor Market Discrimination and Racial Differences in Premarket Factors," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(1), pages 1-39, April.
    3. Carlsson, Magnus & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2007. "Evidence of ethnic discrimination in the Swedish labor market using experimental data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 716-729, August.
    4. Chiswick, Barry R, 1977. "Sons of Immigrants: Are They at an Earnings Disadvantage?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 376-380, February.
    5. Borjas, George J, 1993. "The Intergenerational Mobility of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 113-135, January.
    6. Martin Nordin, 2008. "Ability and rates of return to schooling—making use of the Swedish enlistment battery test," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(3), pages 703-717, July.
    7. Dan-Olof Rooth & Jan Ekberg, 2003. "Unemployment and earnings for second generation immigrants in Sweden. Ethnic background and parent composition," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 16(4), pages 787-814, November.
    8. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-895, October.
    9. William A. Darity & Patrick L. Mason, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Employment: Codes of Color, Codes of Gender," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 63-90, Spring.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Nordin & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2014. "Increasing Returns to Schooling by Ability? A Comparison between the USA and Sweden," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 82, pages 1-20, December.
    2. Nordin , Martin & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2011. "Ability Heterogeneity in Intergenerational Mobility," Working Papers 2011:18, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    3. Wido Geis, 2010. "High Unemployment in Germany: Why do Foreigners Suffer Most?," ifo Working Paper Series 90, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    4. Irastorza, Nahikari & Bevelander, Pieter, 2014. "Economic Integration of Intermarried Labour Migrants, Refugees and Family Migrants to Sweden: Premium or Selection?," IZA Discussion Papers 8065, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Katz, Katarina & Österberg, Torun, 2013. "Wages of childhood immigrants in Sweden – education, returns to education and overeducation," Working Paper Series 2013:8, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    6. Martin Nordin, 2013. "Immigrant School Segregation in Sweden," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 32(3), pages 415-435, June.

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