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Does Racial and Ethnic Discrimination Vary Across Minority Groups? Evidence From a Field Experiment

  • Booth, Alison L
  • Leigh, Andrew
  • Varganova, Elena

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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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7913.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7913
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  1. Philip Oreopoulos, 2009. "Why Do Skilled Immigrants Struggle in the Labor Market? A Field Experiment with Six Thousand Resumes," NBER Working Papers 15036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alison Booth & Andrew Leigh, 2010. "Do Employers Discriminate by Gender? A Field Experiment in Female-Dominated Occupations," CEPR Discussion Papers 632, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  3. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1998. "What Has Economics to Say about Racial Discrimination?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 91-100, Spring.
  4. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark, 2003. "Public policy and the labor market adjustment of new immigrants to Australia," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 655-681, November.
  5. P. A. Riach & J. Rich, 2002. "Field Experiments of Discrimination in the Market Place," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 480-518, November.
  6. Riach, Peter A & Rich, Judith, 1991. "Testing for Racial Discrimination in the Labour Market," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 239-56, September.
  7. 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.
  8. Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2007. "Implicit Discrimination in Hiring: Real World Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2764, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Peter A. Riach & Judith Rich, 2004. "Deceptive Field Experiments of Discrimination: Are they Ethical?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 457-470, 08.
  10. St�Phane Mahuteau & P.N. (Raja) Junankar, 2008. "Do Migrants get Good Jobs in Australia? The Role of Ethnic Networks in Job Search," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 84(s1), pages S115-S130, 09.
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