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Implicit prejudice and ethnic minorities: Arab-Muslims in Sweden

Author

Listed:
  • Jens Agerström
  • Dan-Olof Rooth

Abstract

Purpose - The aim of this paper is to examine whether Swedish employers implicitly/automatically hold negative attitudes toward Arab-Muslims, an ethnic minority group subjected to substantial labor market discrimination in Sweden and, more specifically, associate members of this minority group with lower work productivity, as compared with native Swedes. Design/methodology/approach - Adapted versions of the Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald Findings - The results clearly show that employers have stronger negative implicit attitudes toward Arab-Muslims relative to native Swedes as well as implicitly perceiving Arab-Muslims to be less productive than native Swedes. Notably, the explicit measures reveal much weaker negative associations. Practical implications - Since Arab-Muslims are automatically perceived as being less productive, the present findings suggest that negative implicit productivity stereotypes could have significant effects on labor market outcomes, such as when employers make hiring decisions. Given that many hiring decisions are presumably based on “gut-feelings”, implicit attitudes and stereotypes, more so than their explicit counterparts, may exert a substantial impact on how employers contemplate and make decisions regarding human resources. Originality/value - Whereas traditional research has focused on self-conscious, explicit work-related attitudes toward various ethnic minority groups, the study offers a novel approach to understanding work-related prejudice.

Suggested Citation

  • Jens Agerström & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2009. "Implicit prejudice and ethnic minorities: Arab-Muslims in Sweden," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 30(1/2), pages 43-55, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:30:y:2009:i:1/2:p:43-55
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 991-1013, September.
    3. Jens, Agerström & Carlsson, Rickard & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2007. "Ethnicity and obesity: evidence of implicit work performance stereotypes in Sweden," Working Paper Series 2007:20, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    4. Altonji, Joseph G. & Blank, Rebecca M., 1999. "Race and gender in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 48, pages 3143-3259, Elsevier.
    5. Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2007. "Implicit Discrimination in Hiring: Real World Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2764, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Carlsson, Magnus & Eriksson, Stefan, 2012. "Do Reported Attitudes towards Immigrants Predict Ethnic Discrimination?," Working Paper Series 2012:6, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    2. 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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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Employers; Ethnic minorities; Islam; Sweden; Racial discrimination; Discrimination in employment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J70 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - General

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