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The Consequences of Cumulative Discrimination: How Special Schooling Influences Employment and Wages of Roma in the Czech Republic


  • O'Higgins, Niall

    () (ILO International Labour Organization)

  • Brüggemann, Christian

    () (TU Dortmund)


Unequal labour market outcomes between Roma and non-Roma have typically been explained by either the low level of educational attainment on the one hand or labour marked discrimination on the other – or both. A number of studies have found that significant labour market inequalities persist even after the low levels of educational attainment amongst Roma have been accounted for. Here we look at the role of special schooling in driving labour market inequalities between Roma and non-Roma in the Czech Republic. We confirm the findings of other studies that Roma face significant differences in labour market outcomes which cannot be explained in terms of educational attainment. Moreover, we find that the segregation of Roma into special remedial schools for the mentally disabled influences both labour market outcomes and the level of educational attainment; the latter effect being particularly strong. Special school attendance explains a small part of Roma labour market discrimination as typically measured, but its main impact is through lowering Roma educational attainment suggesting an additional discriminatory element in Roma/non-Roma labour market outcomes which is more typically ascribed to ‘justified’ Roma/non-Roma educational differences. Thus, we propose that labour market inequality should not only be understood as result of low attainment and labour market discrimination per se but as a complex outcome of cumulative discrimination. In contrast to previous papers which take a parametric approach assuming common support between Roma and non-Roma, the non-parametric matching approach employed here explicitly takes into consideration the substantial differences in educational attainment observable between Roma and non-Roma.

Suggested Citation

  • O'Higgins, Niall & Brüggemann, Christian, 2013. "The Consequences of Cumulative Discrimination: How Special Schooling Influences Employment and Wages of Roma in the Czech Republic," IZA Discussion Papers 7668, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7668

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Niall O'Higgins, 2010. "“It's not that I'm a racist, it's that they are Roma”: Roma discrimination and returns to education in South Eastern Europe," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 31(2), pages 163-187, May.
    2. Gabor Kertesi & Gabor Kezdi, 2011. "The Roma/Non-Roma Test Score Gap in Hungary," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 519-525, May.
    3. Susanne Milcher & Manfred M. Fischer, 2011. "On labour market discrimination against Roma in South East Europe," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 90(4), pages 773-788, November.
    4. Rebecca M. Blank, 2005. "Tracing the Economic Impact of Cumulative Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 99-103, May.
    5. Ana Revenga & Dena Ringold & William Martin Tracy, 2002. "Poverty and Ethnicity : A Cross-Country Study of ROMA Poverty in Central Europe," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14055, June.
    6. Susanne Milcher, 2011. "Decomposing Income Differentials Between Roma And Non-Roma In South East Europe," Romanian Journal of Regional Science, Romanian Regional Science Association, vol. 5(1), pages 27-53, JUNE.
    7. Stacy J. Kosko, 2012. "Educational Attainment and School-to-work Conversion of Roma in Romania: Adapting to Feasible Means or Ends?," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3), pages 415-450, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tudorel ANDREI & Andreea MIRICĂ & Daniel TEODORESCU & Elena-Doina DASCĂLU, 2016. "Main Determinants of Labor Force Participation in the case of Metropolitan Roma People," Journal for Economic Forecasting, Institute for Economic Forecasting, vol. 0(3), pages 144-163, September.

    More about this item


    labour market discrimination; Central Europe; Roma;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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