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Discrimination and favouritism among South African workers: Ethnic identity and union membership

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  • Ravetti, Chiara
  • Sarr, Mare
  • Munene, Daniel
  • Swanson, Tim

Abstract

This paper analyses the ways in which ethnic identity and labour institutions shape favouritism and discrimination among workers. We conduct a lab experiment in the field with South African coal miners from various ethnic groups and with different trade union membership status. Our analysis suggests that union identity and ethnic identity are two social constructs that operate in a distinct and opposite fashion. Unionization acts as a factor of workers solidarity beyond the confine of union membership. Conversely, ethnicity operates as the linchpin through which discrimination among workers is infused not only between ethnic majority and minorities, but also within the majority group itself. We find that the widespread practice of subcontracting in the mining sector exacerbates ethnic discrimination among workers both between and within ethnic groupings.

Suggested Citation

  • Ravetti, Chiara & Sarr, Mare & Munene, Daniel & Swanson, Tim, 2019. "Discrimination and favouritism among South African workers: Ethnic identity and union membership," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 1-1.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:123:y:2019:i:c:18
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.06.027
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    Cited by:

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    2. Zamora, Paula & Mantilla, César & Blanco, Mariana, 2021. "Price discrimination in informal labor markets in Bogotá: an audit experiment during the 2018 FIFA World Cup," Journal for Labour Market Research, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 55, pages 1-6.
    3. Leoné Walters & Manoel Bittencourt & Carolyn Chisadza, 2023. "Public infrastructure provision and ethnic favouritism: Evidence from South Africa," Economics of Transition and Institutional Change, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 31(1), pages 33-65, January.
    4. Armenak Antinyan & Tigran Aydinyan & Anna Ressi & Lilia Wasserka-Zhurakhovska, 2023. "An Experimental Analysis of In-Group Favoritism and Out-Group Discrimination in the Gain and Loss Domain," CESifo Working Paper Series 10606, CESifo.
    5. Tom Lane, 2023. "The strategic use of social identity," Discussion Papers 2023-01, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Discrimination; Ethnicity; Labour market segmentation; Trade union; Dictator game;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination
    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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