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?