DISCRIMINATION. Methodological controversies and sociological perspectives on future research

Open access

Abstract

Field experiments have proved productive in documenting the continuing relevance of race and ethnicity in the shaping of opportunities in modern societies. However, methodological questions have been raised concerning the existence of unobservable variables and the subsequent danger of drawing inferences on a wrong basis. In this article, we address these debates and discuss a research strategy which to a large degree exceeds the challenges posed in the literature. By supplementing a correspondence test study with in-depth interviews with employers who were subjected to the fictitious job applicants in the experiment, we get access to the extent of discrimination in the labour market as well as to the mechanisms involved in discriminatory hiring practices. The design has several advantages compared to ‘singlemethod’ approaches and provides a more substantial understanding of the processes leading to ethnic inequality in the labour market.

Allasino, E, Reyneri, E, Venturini, A & Zincone, G 2004, Labour market discrimination against migrant workers in Italy, International Labour Office, Geneva.

Arrow, KJ 1998, ‘What has economics to say about racial discrimination?’, Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 91-100.

Attström, K 2007, Discrimination against native swedes of immigrant origin in access to employment. A research study on Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg, utilizing the ILO discrimination practice testing approach, International Labour Office, Genevé.

Banton, M 1994, Discrimination, Open University Press, Buckingham.

Banton, M 1997, ‘The ethics of practice-testing’, New Community, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 413-420.

Bertrand, M, Chugh, D & Mullainathan, S 2005, ‘Implicit discrimination’, The American Economic Review, vol. 95, no. 2, pp. 94-98.

Bertrand, M & Mullainathan, S 2004, ‘Are Emily and Greg Morge employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A field experiment on labor market discrimination’, The American Economic Review, vol. 90, no. 4, pp. 991-1013.

Blank, RM, Dabady, M & Citro, CF (eds) 2004, Measuring racial discrimination. Panel on methods for assessing discrimination, National Research Council, Commitee on National Statistics, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Academies Press, Washington, DC.

Bovenkerk, F 1992, Testing discrimination in natural experiments. A manual for international comparative research on discrimination on the grounds of “race” and ethnic origin, International Labour Office, Genevé.

Brochmann, G & Kjeldstadli, K 2008, A history of immigration. The case of Norway 900-2000, Universitetsforlaget, Oslo.

Bursell, M 2007, ‘What’s in a name? A field experiment test for the existence of ethnic discrimination in the hiring process’, Working Paper 2007:7, p. Stockholm University Linnaeus Centre for Integration Studies.

Carlsson, M 2009, Essays on discrimination in hiring, Växjö University, Ph. D Thesis. Department of Economics and Statistics.

Carlsson, M & Rooth, DO 2007, ‘Evidence of ethnic discrimination in the Swedish labor market using experimental data’, Labour Economics, vol. 14, pp. 716-729.

Cediey, E & Foroni, F 2008, Discrimination in access to employment on grounds of foreign origin in France: a national survey of discrimination based on the testing methodology of the international labour office, International Labour Office, Geneva.

Daniel, W 1968, Racial discrimination in England, Penguin Books, Middlesex.

Darity, WA & Mason, PL 1998, ‘Evidence on discrimination in employment: codes of color, codes of gender’, Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 63-90.

Fiske, S 1998, ‘Stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination’, in The handbook of social psychology, 4 edn, vol. 2, eds D Gilbert, S Fiske & G Lindzey, McGrew Hill, New York, pp. 357-411.

Fix, M & Struyk, RJ (eds) 1993, Clear and convincing evidence: measurement of discrimination in America, The Urban Institute Press, Washington D. C.

Heckman, J 1998, ‘Detecting discrimination’, Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 101-116.

Heckman, J & Siegelman, P 1993, ‘The urban institute audit studies: their methods and findings’, in Clear and convincing evidence: measurement of discrimination in America, eds M Fix & RJ Struyk, The Urban Institute Press, Washington D. C.

Jackson, M 2009, ‘Disadvantaged through discrimination? The role of employers in social stratification’, The British Journal of Sociology, vol. 60, no. 4, pp. 669-692.

Kaas, L & Manger, C 2012, ‘Ethnic discrimination in Germany’s labour market: a field experiment’, German Economic Review, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 1-20.

Kirschenman, J & Neckerman, KM 1991, ‘‘We’d love to hire them, but...’: the meaning of race to employers’, in The urban underclass, eds C Jencks & PE Peterson, Brookings Institution, Washington.

Ladd, HF 1998, ‘Evidence on discrimination in mortgage lending’, Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 41-62.

Loury, GC 1998, ‘Discrimination in the post-civil rights era: beyond market interactions’, Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 117-126.

Midtbøen, AH & Rogstad, J 2008, ‘Diskrimineringens art, omfang og årsaker’, Søkelys på arbeidslivet, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 417-429.

Midtbøen, AH & Rogstad, J 2012, Diskrimineringens omfang og årsaker. Etniske minoriteters tilgang til norsk arbeidsliv. Institutt for samfunnsforskning, ISF-rapport 2012:001, Oslo.

Moss, P & Tilly, C 2001, Stories employers tell. Race, skill, and hiring in America, Russell Sage Foundation, New York.

Neumark, D 2010, Detecting discrimination in audit and correspondence testing in Working Paper 16448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge.

Nilsson, A 2006, Gränsvakter: Tankestilar och sortering vid rekrytering av personal i sex kommuner, CEIFO, Stockholm University, Doctoral dissertation. Stockholm.

Olsen, B 2011, Unge med innvandrerbakgrunn i arbeid og utdanning 2009, Statistisk sentralbyrå, Oslo/Kongsvinger.

Pager, D 2003, ‘The mark of a criminal record’, American Journal of Sociology, vol. 108, no. 5, pp. 937-975.

Pager, D 2007, ‘The use of field experiments for studies of employment discrimination: contributions, critiques, and directions for the future’, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 609, no. 1, pp. 104-133.

Pager, D & Karafin, D 2009, ‘Bayesian bigot? Statistical discrimination, stereotypes, and employer decision making’, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 621, pp. 70-93.

Pager, D & Quillian, L 2005, ‘Walking the talk? What employers say versus what they do’, American Sociological Review, vol. 70, no. 3, pp. 355-380.

Pager, D & Shepherd, H 2008, ‘The sociology of discrimination: racial discrimination in employment, housing, credit and consumer markets’, Annual Review of Sociology, vol. 34, pp. 181-209.

Pager, D, Western, B & Bonikowski, B 2009, ‘Discrimination in a lowwage labor market: a field experiment’, American Sociological Review, vol. 74, pp. 777-799.

Petersen, T 2008, ‘Discrimination: conscious or nonconscious?’, in Social stratification: class, race and gender in sociological perspective, ed. DB Grusky, Westview Press, Boulder, pp. 780-785.

Petersen, T, Saporta, I & Seidel, M-DL 2000, ‘Offering a job: meritocracy and social networks’, American Journal of Sociology, vol. 106, no. 3, pp. 763-816.

Quillian, L 2006, ‘New approaches to understanding racial prejudice and discrimination’, Annual Review of Sociology, vol. 32, pp. 299-328.

Quillian, L 2008, ‘Does unconscious racism exist?’, Social Psychology Quarterly, vol. 71, no. 1, pp. 6-11.

Quillian, L & Pager, D 2010, ‘Estimating risk: stereotype amplification and the perceived risk of criminal victimization’, Social Psychology Quarterly, vol. 73, no. 1, pp. 79-104.

Reskin, BF 2000, ‘Proximate causes of employment discrimination’, Contemporary Sociology, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 319-328.

Reskin, BF 2008, ‘Rethinking employment discrimination and its remedies’, in Social stratification: class, race and gender in sociological perspective, ed. DB Grusky, Westview Press, Boulder, pp. 770-779.

Riach, P & Rich, J 2002, ‘Field experiments of discrimination in the market place’, The Economic Journal, vol. 112, no. 483, pp. 480-518.

Riach, P & Rich, J 2004, ‘Deceptive field experiments of discrimination: are they ethical?’, Kyklos, vol. 57, no. 3, pp. 457-470.

Rogstad, J 1996, ‘Etikk og metode-noen problemer i studiet av diskriminering’, Sosiologisk tidsskrift, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 219-228.

Rogstad, J 2001, Sist blant likemenn? Synlige minoriteter på arbeidsmarkedet, Unipax, Oslo.

Rogstad, J & Midtbøen, AH 2009, Fra symptom til årsak. Metodiske utfordringer og forskningsetiske dilemmaer ved bruk av tester i studiet av diskriminering, Institutt for samfunnsforskning., ISFrapport 2009:002., Oslo.

Rooth, D-O 2007, Implicit discrimination in hiring: real world evicence, in IZA DP#2764, IZA.

Waldinger, R & Lichter, MI 2003, How the other half works: immigration and the social organization of labor, University of California Press, Berkeley.

Yinger, J 1998, ‘Evidence on discrimination in consumer markets’, Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 23-40.

Zegers de Beijl, R (ed.) 1999, Documenting discrimination against migrant workers in the labour market: a comparative study of four European countries, International Labour Office, Geneva.

Journal Information

Cited By

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 643 643 86
PDF Downloads 336 336 55