Labour market discrimination against minorities

Labour market discrimination has been a very popular topic in different studies with a focus most commonly on discrimination against women or against minority ethnic groups. Although it is difficult to separate discrimination from other characteristics causing the different outcomes of these groups in the labour market, some studies still try to do this. Bertrand & Mullainathan (2004) have conducted a field experiment to test whether the employers discriminate African-Americans when deciding who to ask for a job-interview.

The field study was conducted as follows: fictious resumes were sent to several help-wanted ads, whereby the resumes were randomly given African-American (e.g. Lakisha Washington, Jamal Jones) or White-sounding names (e.g. Emily Walsh, Greg Baker). The extent of the discrimination against African-American minority was measured as the difference in the callback rates for the resumes. The most important finding was that White names received 50 per cent more callbacks for interviews. They also tested for differences in callbacks in different occupations, industries etc. Read more here.

The same issue has been studied by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner in their best-selling book Freakonomics. They also found that a child’s certain name could affect his/her life in a(n) (un)favourable way.

Is that kind of labour market discrimination possible in your country?


3 thoughts on “Labour market discrimination against minorities

  1. In Latvia the Labour market discrimination was during to his occupation by Russia. Measuring employment concentration and earnings differentials across regions, monopsony appears prevalent in the country. A monopsony explanation requires Russians to have lower labour supply elasticity than Latvians, a condition which estimates for participation probability confirm. Earnings decompositions show that though Russians are paid more than Latvians on average, given their human capital characteristics, they suffer earnings discrimination of between 5.5 and 7.3 percent. In addition, compared with Latvians the likelihood that Russians will be unemployed is greater, though Russians are less likely to register for unemployment services. This evidence suggests that lack of integrated, flexible labour markets in Latvia, and the monopsony which results, have supported labour market discrimination against Russians during transition. It was like the Labour market discrimination during Post-Communist transition.

  2. There is a quite simple explanation for discrimination based on names in USA. If employers receive hundreds of applications, the decision to cut down possible candidates can be based on the name. As a huge number of immigrants (probably people with strange names) are low-skilled and may not meet employer’s expectations. Discrimination helps firms to save money and time in recruitment process. I do not justify this kind of action, I am just saying, it is the way to save resources.

  3. I agree with the post above by britv i do not in anyway condone this but i think it is a way in which companies narrow down a huge unmanageable pile of candidates to a small interviewable bunch, like when sifting through cv’s companys rule out ones with bad hanwriting or bad spelling, but these are simple errors and do not mean that the person would not be the best possible candidate for the job, skin colour, ethnic background, handwriting, name….none of these are factors which affect directly a persons ability to perform a job so why they do it this way i dont know, beause in my opinion they could be missing out on many talented people because of this predudice.


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