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Is Labour Market Discrimination against Ethnic Minorities Better Explained by Taste or Statistics? A Systematic Review of the Empirical Evidence

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  • Lippens, Louis

    (Ghent University)

  • Baert, Stijn

    (Ghent University)

  • Ghekiere, Abel

    (Free University of Brussels)

  • Verhaeghe, Pieter-Paul

    (Free University of Brussels)

  • Derous, Eva

    (Ghent University)

Abstract

Scholars have gone to great lengths to chart the incidence of ethnic labour market discrimination. To effectively mitigate this discrimination, however, we need to understand its underlying mechanisms because different mechanisms lead to different counteracting measures. To this end, we reviewed the recent literature that confronts the seminal theories of taste-based and statistical discrimination against the empirical reality. First, we observed that the measurement operationalisation of the mechanisms varied greatly between studies, necessitating the development of a measurement standard. Second, we found that 20 out of 30 studies examining taste-based discrimination and 18 out of 34 studies assessing statistical discrimination produced supportive evidence for said mechanisms. However, (field) experimental research, which predominantly focuses on hiring outcomes, yielded more evidence in favour of taste-based vis-à-vis statistical discrimination, suggesting that the taste-based mechanism might better explain ethnic discrimination in hiring.

Suggested Citation

  • Lippens, Louis & Baert, Stijn & Ghekiere, Abel & Verhaeghe, Pieter-Paul & Derous, Eva, 2020. "Is Labour Market Discrimination against Ethnic Minorities Better Explained by Taste or Statistics? A Systematic Review of the Empirical Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 13523, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13523
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Romain Aeberhardt & Élise Coudin & Roland Rathelot, 2017. "The heterogeneity of ethnic employment gaps," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(1), pages 307-337, January.
    2. Amanda Agan & Sonja Starr, 2016. "Ban the Box, Criminal Records, and Statistical Discrimination: A Field Experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00539, The Field Experiments Website.
    3. Marianne Bertrand & Dolly Chugh & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2005. "Implicit Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 94-98, May.
    4. 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.
    5. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 2, number 9780226041162, Febrero.
    6. Barr, Abigail & Oduro, Abena, 2002. "Ethnic fractionalization in an African labour market," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 355-379, August.
    7. Neil Longley, 2003. "Measuring Employer‐Based Discrimination Versus Customer‐Based Discrimination: The Case of French Canadians in the National Hockey League," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 365-381, April.
    8. Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, 2001. "Employer Learning and Statistical Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 313-350.
    9. Joseph A Ritter & Lowell J Taylor, 2011. "Racial Disparity in Unemployment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 30-42, February.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    taste-based discrimination; statistical discrimination; ethnicity; race; labour market; systematic review;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand

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