IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Discrimination in the Irish Labour Market: Nationality, Ethnicity and the Recession


  • Gillian Kingston

    (Economic and Social Research Institute and Department of Sociology, Trinity College Dublin)

  • Frances McGinnity

    (Economic and Social Research Institute and Department of Sociology, Trinity College Dublin)

  • Philip J. O’Connell

    (UCD Geary Institute, University College Dublin)


Previous research shows that immigrants, in common with other groups that suffer disadvantage in the labour market, are more vulnerable during recession (Hoynes et al., 2012; McGinnity et al., 2013; Sierminska and Takhtamanova, 2010). However, little research has focused on the impact of the Great Recession on work-related discrimination. We examine the extent to which discrimination varies across different national-ethnic groups, and whether discrimination increased between 2004, during an economic boom, and 2010, in the midst of a severe recession. Our analysis draws on two large-scale nationally representative surveys on the experience of labour market discrimination. We find that overall immigrants do experience higher rates of work based discrimination, however discrimination does not increase with the recession. We find substantial variation in discrimination across national-ethnic groups, and indicate that ethnicity plays an important influence on the experience of discrimination.

Suggested Citation

  • Gillian Kingston & Frances McGinnity & Philip J. O’Connell, 2013. "Discrimination in the Irish Labour Market: Nationality, Ethnicity and the Recession," Working Papers 201323, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201323

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2013
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barrett, Alan & Duffy, David, 2007. "Are Ireland’s Immigrants Integrating into its Labour Market?," IZA Discussion Papers 2838, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Alan Barrett & Adele Bergin & David Duffy, 2006. "The Labour Market Characteristics and Labour Market Impacts of Immigrants in Ireland," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 37(1), pages 1-26.
    3. Russell, Helen & Quinn, Emma & King O'Riain, Rebecca & McGinnity, Frances, 2008. "The Experience of Discrimination in Ireland: Analysis of the QNHS Equality Module," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number BKMNEXT120.
    4. Frances McGinnity & Peter D. Lunn, 2011. "Measuring discrimination facing ethnic minority job applicants: an Irish experiment," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 25(4), pages 693-708, December.
    5. Thomas Turner, 2010. "The jobs immigrants do: issues of displacement and marginalisation in the Irish labour market," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 24(2), pages 318-336, June.
    6. Alan Barrett & Yvonne McCarthy, 2008. "Immigrants and welfare programmes: exploring the interactions between immigrant characteristics, immigrant welfare dependence, and welfare policy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(3), pages 543-560, Autumn.
    7. Hilary Hoynes & Douglas L. Miller & Jessamyn Schaller, 2012. "Who Suffers during Recessions?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 27-48, Summer.
    8. Alan Barrett & Séamus McGuinness & Martin O'Brien, 2012. "The Immigrant Earnings Disadvantage across the Earnings and Skills Distributions: The Case of Immigrants from the EU's New Member States," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 50(3), pages 457-481, September.
    9. repec:esr:resser:bkmnext236 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Anthony Rafferty, 2012. "Ethnic penalties in graduate level over-education, unemployment and wages: evidence from Britain," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 26(6), pages 987-1006, December.
    11. Eva Sierminska & Yelena Takhtamanova, 2010. "Job Flows, Demographics and the Great Recession," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1042, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    12. Fenella Fleischmann & Jaap Dronkers, 2010. "Unemployment among immigrants in European labour markets: an analysis of origin and destination effects," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 24(2), pages 337-354, June.
    13. Pager, Devah & Western, Bruce & Bonikowski, Bart, 2009. "Discrimination in a Low-Wage Labor Market: A Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 4469, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Philip J. O’Connell & Corona Joyce, 2013. "International Migration in Ireland, 2012," Working Papers 201304, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    15. Christian Dustmann & Francesca Fabbri, 2005. "Immigrants in the British labour market," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 26(4), pages 423-470, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Discrimination; recession; nationality; ethnicity; labour market;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201323. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Geary Tech). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.