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Anti-Muslim discrimination in France: Evidence from a field experiment

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  • Valfort, Marie-Anne

Abstract

Are Muslims qua Muslims discriminated against in the French labour market? Identifying anti-Muslim hiring discrimination is challenging because it requires neutralising two confounding factors: geographic origin (the bulk of Muslim-majority countries are located outside of Europe and its offshoots) and religiosity (survey-based evidence reveals greater importance attached to God among Muslims than Christians). To address these challenges, this paper compares the callback rates of fictitious job applicants of Muslim and Christian affiliation who originate from the same country, Lebanon, and are identical in every respect save the religion they inherited. This paper also varies whether the job applicants are “religious”, i.e. whether they practise their religion in adulthood, through their membership in Scouting associations. The results reveal no discrimination against Muslims when they are not religious. However, Muslims lose ground when they are religious, unless they are outstanding. The gap further widens when religious Muslims are compared to religious Christians. While religiosity constitutes a penalty for Muslims, it works as a premium for Christians: their callback rate is boosted when they are religious. Consequently, religious Muslims must submit twice as many applications as religious Christians before being called back by the recruiters. A closer look at the data reveals that the “religiosity penalty” affects ordinary Muslim men and accounts for the full gap in callback rate between religious ordinary Muslim men (4.2%) and their Christian counterparts (10.9%). This finding is compatible with employers incurring a disutility when they interact with religious Muslim men, that wanes as the latter become outstanding and, hence, more likely to behave in a way that pleases employers. It is also compatible with religious ordinary Muslim men being linked to a risk of religious radicalism. A follow-up survey confirms that the signal used to convey religiosity is deemed relevant and correctly interpreted by employers.

Suggested Citation

  • Valfort, Marie-Anne, 2020. "Anti-Muslim discrimination in France: Evidence from a field experiment," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 135(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:135:y:2020:i:c:s0305750x20301480
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2020.105022
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    Cited by:

    1. Hou, Yue & Liu, Chuyu & Crabtree, Charles, 2020. "Anti-muslim bias in the Chinese labor market," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 235-250.
    2. Lucas Chancel, 2019. "Ten facts about income inequality in advanced economies," World Inequality Lab Working Papers hal-02876982, HAL.
    3. Van Borm, Hannah & Baert, Stijn, 2022. "Diving in the minds of recruiters: What triggers gender stereotypes in hiring?," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1083, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Religion; Religiosity; Islam; Discrimination; Europe; France;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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