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Ethnic Discrimination in Hiring Decisions: A Meta-Analysis of Correspondence Tests 1990-2015



Poster Presentation at the Conference on Discrimination and Labour Market Research, 25-26 August 2015, Linnaeus University Centre for Labour Market and Discrimination Studies, Kalmar (Sweden)
Ethnic Discrimination in Hiring
Decisions: A Meta-Analysis of
Correspondence Tests 19902015
Eva Zschirnt, Didier Ruedin, Université de Neuchâtel,
For almost 50 years field
experiments have been
used to study ethnic and
racial discrimination in
hiring decisions,
consistently reporting
high rates of
discrimination against
minority applicants.
While systematic reviews
of these experiments
exist (e.g. Riach and
Rich 2002, Rich 2014),
no study has undertaken
a meta-analysis to
examine the findings of
these studies.
Hypothesis 1: Minority candidates
are discriminated against across all
countries and time.
Confirmed: Minority applicants
have to write 1.5 times as many
applications as their majority peers
Hypothesis 2: Discrimination is
lower for second generation youths
than for first generation immigrants.
No clear pattern, points towards
taste-based discrimination
Hypothesis 3: More distant and
visible minority groups are
discriminated against more.
Confirmed: Results show clear
ethnic hierarchies
Hypothesis 4: Discrimination is
likely to be lower following the
adoption of the EU Directives on
discrimination in 2000.
Rejected: Higher discrimination
rates after 2000
Hypothesis 5: Due to more
extensive application packs
discrimination is lower in German
speaking countries than in other
European countries.
Confirmed: Lower discrimination
rates in German speaking
Objectives Results Conclusion
Our results show that
discrimination against
minority candidates is
still wide-spread,
irrespective of the ethnic
or racial group, the
length of stay, the
country under study,
gender, skill level, or the
legislation in place.
There are strong
indications that ethnic
discrimination in hiring
reflects taste-based
discrimination, although
statistical discrimination
also seems to occur.
Information and References
Draft Paper:
Zschirnt, Eva and Ruedin, Didier,
Ethnic Discrimination in Hiring
Decisions: A Meta-Analysis of
Correspondence Tests 1990-
2015 (April 22, 2015). Available
at SSRN:
Riach, Peter A, and Judith Rich.
2002. "Field Experiments of
Discrimination in the Market
Place." The Economic Journal
112 (483):F480-F518.
Rich, Judith. 2014. What Do Field
Experiments of Discrimination in
Markets Tell Us? A Meta Analysis
of Studies Conducted since
2000. In Discussion Paper
Series. Bonn: IZA
Geographic limit: OECD
Time frame: 19902015
Focus on written
studies, exclude in-
person audits
Differentiate between
study level and
42 Studies from 18
different countries, 730
Methods Notes: given are the odds ratios of each study (point estimate as square, two
standard errors as lines) on the left, along with the numerical representation on the
right. At the bottom, the rhomboid summarizes the effect size across studies. N= 33
studies (study level).
Ethnic and Racial Discrimination in Hiring Decisions
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