Evidence of Hiring Discrimination Against the Second Generation: Results from a Correspondence Test in the Swiss Labour Market

Abstract

While there is ample evidence of discrimination against ethnic minority candidates in hiring, most existing studies have focused on stigmatised immigrant groups. Using a correspondence test to ethnic discrimination in the Swiss labour market is enumerated, varying the a priori stigma of the immigrant groups. The field experiment compares candidates with Swiss names against candidates with German, Kosovar and Turkish names in a paired correspondence test spanning four occupations. Results from attitude research in Switzerland lead to the expectation that these groups will face different rates of discrimination, with candidates with Kosovar names being the most stigmatised and candidates with German names facing the least discrimination. Between October 2017 and April 2018, applications were sent in response to 560 real vacancies in the German-speaking area of Switzerland. Across the minority groups, the relative call back rate was 1.13, meaning that minority candidates have to write 1.13 times as many applications as majority candidates to be invited for a job interview. The relative call back rates differ by the ethnic origin: Germans experience almost no discrimination across all occupations, Turks face a relative call back rate of 1.14, and Kosovars encounter the highest relative call back rate across occupations (1.26). We conclude that existing studies may give the false impression that all immigrants suffer from substantive discrimination in the labour market because they focus on stigmatised groups.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    Notable exceptions are for example McGinnity and Lunn (2011), who included German-named candidates in their Irish study, Booth et al. (2012) who included Italian-named candidates in their Australian study, or Busetta et al. (2018) who included also German-named candidates in their correspondence test in Italy.

  2. 2.

    The Migration Policy Index (MIPEX) measures integration policies in 38 countries in eight policy areas, one of them being anti-discrimination policy.

  3. 3.

    An overview of the international feedback can be found on https://www.humanrights.ch/en/switzerland/recommendations/discrimination/legislation-discrimination/ (last accessed 16.03.2018)

  4. 4.

    The occupations included amongst others receptionists, bakers, sales assistants, hotel personnel or construction workers.

  5. 5.

    Nevertheless, some employers discovered that the nursing diplomas were forged and complaint to the police. Judicial proceedings were initiated based on the forgery of documents and the misuse of the logo of the Red Cross which is visible in the diploma. The Public Prosecutor’s office in the Canton of Neuchâtel decided not to pursue the case further, since the researchers did not seek to enrich themselves and were unaware of the special protection of the Red Cross logo. A working paper discussing this experience will be published in the near future.

  6. 6.

    The profiles were assigned randomly and analysis controlling for the impact of these modifications did not yield significant results.

  7. 7.

    Weichselbaumer (2016b) provides detailed information on the construction of the photographs using student models, that were pre-tested, digitally altered and rated on several dimensions such as “looks, likability, intelligence, reliability as well as their overall score” (p. 10).

  8. 8.

    The photos were randomly attached to the applications. A control in the analysis showed no effect of the photo.

  9. 9.

    In only three (out of 560) cases, employers tried to send rejection letters by post, which were returned to sender and emailed to the applicants as scans.

  10. 10.

    The “Stellenmarkt Monitor Schweiz (SMM)” is a project by Buchmann et al. at the University of Zürich which has been documenting the development of the publication of vacancies in Switzerland going back to 1950. The SMM draws a representative sample of vacancies from a number of publication channels during 1 week each year, since 2001, it is available for all of Switzerland and since 2006, the database also includes vacancies published in online job portals (Buchmann et al. 2015)

  11. 11.

    Using probit regressions, we controlled for the effect of the photo, gender, and photo interacted with gender was controlled, but none of the results were significant.

References

  1. Andriessen, I., Nievers, E., Dagevos, J., & Faulk, L. (2012). Ethnic discrimination in the Dutch labor market: its relationship with job characteristics and multiple group membership. Work and Occupations, 39(3), 237–269.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Arrighi, J.-T. (2018). Dataset on migration referendums and initiatives in Switzerland. Nccr on the move, Neuchâtel.

  3. Arrijn, P., Feld, S., & Nayer, A. (1998). Discrimination in access to employment on grounds of foreign origin: the case of Belgium. Geneva: International Labour Office, Conditions of Work Branch.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Arrow, K. J. (1973). The theory of discrimination. In O. Ashonfelter & A. Rees (Eds.), Discrimination in labor markets (pp. 15–42). Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Auer, D., Bonoli, G., & Fossati, F. (2017). Why do immigrants have longer periods of unemployment? Swiss evidence. International Migration, 55(1), 157–174. https://doi.org/10.1111/imig.12309.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Auer, D., Bonoli, G., Fossati, F., & Liechti, F. (2018). The matching hierarchies model: evidence from a survey experiment on employers’ hiring intent regarding immigrant applicants. International migration review. 0197918318764872.

  7. Baert, S. (2018). Hiring discrimination: an overview of (almost) all correspondence experiments since 2005. In M. Gaddis (Ed.), Audit studies: behind the scenes with theory, method and nuance (Methods Series) (Vol. 14, pp. 63–77). Cham: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Baert, S., & De Pauw, A.-S. (2014). Is ethnic discrimination due to distaste or statistics? Economics Letters, 125(2), 270–273.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Becker, G. (1957). The economics of discrimination (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Bertrand, M., & Duflo, E. (2016). Field experiments on discrimination. London: Centre for Economic Policy Research.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Binggeli, S., Krings, F., & Sczesny, S. (2014a). Perceived competition explains regional differences in the stereotype content of immigrant groups. Social Psychology, 45(1), 62–70.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Binggeli, S., Krings, F., & Sczesny, S. (2014b). Stereotype content associated with immigrant groups in Switzerland. Swiss Journal of Psychology, 73(3), 123–133.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Blank, R. M., Dabady, M., & Citro, C. F. (2004). Measuring racial discrimination. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Booth, A. L., Leigh, A., & Varganova, E. (2012). Does ethnic discrimination vary across minority groups? Evidence from a field experiment. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 74(4), 547–573.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Boulila, S. C. (2018). Race and racial denial in Switzerland. Ethnic and Racial Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2018.1493211.

  16. Bovenkerk, F. (1992). Testing discrimination in natural experiments: a manual for international comparative research on discrimination on the grounds of “race” and ethnic origin. Geneva: International Labour Office.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Bovenkerk, F., Gras, M., Ramsoedh, D., Dankoor, M., & Havelaar, A. (1995). Discrimination against migrant workers and ethnic minorities in access to employment in the Netherlands. Geneva: Employment Department, International Labour Office.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Buchmann, M., Buchs, H., Gnehm, A.-S., Hevenstone, D., Klarer, U., Müller, M., et al. (2015). Erhebung von Stelleninseraten 1950-2014 [Dataset]. In U. Zürich (Ed.). Lausanne: FORS.

  19. Bundesamt für Statistik (2015). Gross monthly wage, Swiss and foreigners - Private sector - Switzerland. https://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/de/home/statistiken/arbeit-erwerb/loehne-erwerbseinkommen-arbeitskosten/lohnniveau-schweiz/personenbezogene-merkmale.assetdetail.304061.html. Accessed 22.04.2018 2018.

  20. Bundesamt für Statistik. (2016). Arbeitsmarktindikatoren 2016. Statistik der Schweiz. Neuchâtel: Bundesamt für Statistik BfS.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Bundesamt für Statistik (2017). Demographic balance of the permanent resident population by citizenship 2010–2016. https://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/de/home/statistiken/bevoelkerung.assetdetail.300195.html. Accessed 21.04.2018.

  22. Bundesamt für Statistik (2018). Unemployment rate based on ILO definition per nationality. https://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/de/home/statistiken/arbeit-erwerb/erwerbslosigkeit-unterbeschaeftigung-offene-stellen.assetdetail.4522594.html. Accessed 06.04.2018 2018.

  23. Busetta, G., Campolo, M. G., & Panarello, D. (2018). Immigrants and Italian labor market: statistical or taste-based discrimination? [journal article]. Genus, 74(1), 4. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41118-018-0030-1.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Cédiey, E., & Foroni, F. (2007). Les discriminations à raison de “l’origine” dans les embauches en France. Une enquête nationale par tests de discrimination selon la méthode du Bureau International du Travail. Genève: Bureau International du Travail.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Crabtree, C., & Chykina, V. (2018). Last name selection in audit studies. Sociological Science, 5, 2–21.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. de Prada, M. A., Actis, W., Pereda, C., & Molina, R. P. (1995). Labour market discrimination against migrant workers in Spain (Vol. 9, International Migration Papers). Geneva: International Labour Office, Employment Department.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Efionayi-Mäder, D., Ruedin, D., Pétrémont, M.-E., Michel, N., & Jain, R. (2017). Anti-Schwarzen-Rassismus in der Schweiz–Eine Bestandsaufnahme. Université de Neuchâtel.

  28. Fibbi, R., Kaya, B., & Piguet, E. (2003). Le passeport ou le diplôme ? Etude des discriminations à l’embauche des jeunes issus de la migration (PNR 43 Rapport de recherche au FNS). Neuchâtel: Forum suisse pour l'étude des migrations et de la population.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Flinn, C. J. (2015). Gary Becker’s contributions to the analysis of discrimination. Journal of Demographic Economics, 81(01), 45–50. https://doi.org/10.1017/dem.2014.5.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Fossati, F., Liechti, F., Auer, D., & Bonoli, G. (2017). Discrimination multipliers - how immigrants’ integration affects labour market disadvantage. MIM Working Papers Series (Vol. 17, pp. 1–22). Malmö: Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM).

    Google Scholar 

  31. Fryer, R. G., Jr., & Levitt, S. D. (2004). The causes and consequences of distinctively black names. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 119, 767–805.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Gaddis, S. M. (2017a). How black are Lakisha and Jamal? Racial perceptions from names used in correspondence audit studies. Sociological Science, 4, 469–489.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Gaddis, S. M. (2017b). Racial/ethnic perceptions from Hispanic names: selecting names to test for discrimination. Socius, 3, 2378023117737193. https://doi.org/10.1177/2378023117737193.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Gaddis, S. M. (2018). An introduction to audit studies in the social sciences. In Audit studies: behind the scenes with theory, method, and nuance (pp. 3–44). Cham: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Goldberg, A., Mourinho, D., & Kulke, U. (1995). Labour market discrimination against foreign workers in Germany. International Labour Office, Employment Department.

  36. Golder, L., Mousson, M., Tschöpe, S., Herzog, N., & Bohn, D. (2017). Hinweise auf erlebte, aber kaum registrierte Hasskriminalität - Pilotstudie Diskriminierungserfahrungen Muslime in der Schweiz. In G. Bern (Ed.). Bern.

  37. Guryan, J., & Charles, K. K. (2013). Taste-based or statistical discrimination: the economics of discrimination returns to its roots. The Economic Journal, 123(572), F417–F432.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Heckman, J. J. (1998). Detecting discrimination. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 12, 101–116.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Heckman, J. J., & Siegelman, P. (1993). The Urban Institute Audit Studies: their methods and findings. In M. Fix & R. Struyk (Eds.), Clear and convincing evidence: measurements of discrimination in America (pp. 187–258). Washington, DC: The Urban institute Press.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Helbling, M. (2011). Why Swiss-Germans dislike Germans. European Societies, 13(1), 5–27. https://doi.org/10.1080/14616696.2010.533784.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Helbling, M., & Kriesi, H. (2014). Why citizens prefer high- over low-skilled immigrants. Labor market competition, welfare state, and deservingness. European Sociological Review, 30(5), 595–614. https://doi.org/10.1093/esr/jcu061.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Huddleston, T., Bilgili, Ö., Joki, A.-L., & Vankova, Z. (2015). Migrant Integration Policy Index 2015: Switzerland (Vol. 09.07.2015). Barcelona/Brussels: CIDOB and MPG.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Jackson, M., & Cox, D. R. (2013). The principles of experimental design and their application in sociology. Annual Review of Sociology, 39(1), 27–49. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-071811-145443.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Keuschnigg, M., & Wolbring, T. (2016). The use of field experiments to study mechanisms of discrimination. Analyse & Kritik, 38, 179.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Krings, F., & Olivares, J. (2007). At the doorstep to employment: discrimination against immigrants as a function of applicant ethnicity, job type, and raters’ prejudice. International Journal of Psychology, 42(6), 406–417. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207590701251721.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Krings, F., Johnston, C., Binggeli, S., & Maggiori, C. (2014). Selective incivility: immigrant groups experience subtle workplace discrimination at different rates. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 20(4), 491–498. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0035436.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Laganà, F., Chevillard, J., & Gauthier, J.-A. (2014). Socio-economic background and early post-compulsory education pathways: a comparison between natives and second-generation immigrants in Switzerland. European Sociological Review, 30(1), 18–34. https://doi.org/10.1093/esr/jct019.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Lahey, J., & Beasley, R. (2018). Technical aspects of correspondence studies. In M. Gaddis (Ed.), Audit studies: Behind the scenes with theory, method, and nuance (pp. 81–101). Cham: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  49. Lalive, R., & Lehmann, T. (2017). The labor market in Switzerland, 2000–2016. IZA World of Labor (pp. 402–402).

  50. Liebig, T., Kohls, S., & Krause, K. (2012). The labour market integration of immigrants and their children in Switzerland. In L. a. S. A. Directorate for Employment (Ed.), OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers (Vol. 128). Paris: OECD.

    Google Scholar 

  51. List, J. A. (2009). An introduction to field experiments in economics. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 70(3), 439–442. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2008.10.013.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Longchamp, C., Imfeld, M., Tschöpe, S., Müller, M., Rochat, P., & Schwab, J. (2014). Verbreitung und Entwicklung von Rassismus, Fremdenfreindlichkeit, Muslimfeindlichkeit und Judenfeindlichkeit - Schlussbericht zur Studie “Zusammenleben in der Schweiz 2010–2014”. Bern: Gfs Bern.

    Google Scholar 

  53. Matser, C., van Oudenhoven, J. P., Askevis-Leherpeux, F., Florack, A., Hannover, B., & Rossier, J. (2010). Impact of relative size and language on the attitudes between nations and linguistic groups: the case of Switzerland. Applied Psychology, 59(1), 143–158.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. McGinnity, F., & Lunn, P. D. (2011). Measuring discrimination facing ethnic minority job applicants: an Irish experiment. Work, Employment and Society, 25(4), 693–708.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Midtbøen, A. H., & Rogstad, J. (2012). Discrimination. Methodological controversies and sociological perspectives on future research. Nordic Journal of Migration Research, 2(3), 203–212.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Mühlemann, D. (2017). Rassismusvorfälle aus der Beratungspraxis - Januar bis Dezember 2016. Bern: Verein humanrights.ch, Eidgenössische Kommission gegen Rassismus (EKR).

    Google Scholar 

  57. Neumark, D. (2012). Detecting discrimination in audit and correspondence studies. Journal of Human Resources, 47(4), 1128–1157.

  58. OECD. (2012). Jobs for immigrants (Vol. 3): Labour market integration in Austria, Norway and Switzerland. Paris: OECD Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  59. OECD (2018a). Foreign-born unemployment (indicator). https://data.oecd.org/migration/foreign-born-unemployment.htm. Accessed 22.04.2018 2018.

  60. OECD (2018b). Native-born unemployment (indicator). https://data.oecd.org/migration/native-born-unemployment.htm - indicator-chart. Accessed 22.04.2018 2018.

  61. OECD (2018c). Unemployment rate (indicator). https://data.oecd.org/unemp/unemployment-rate.htm. Accessed 22.04.2018 2018.

  62. Pecoraro, M., & Ruedin, D. (2016). A foreigner who does not steal my job: the role of unemployment risk and values in attitudes toward equal opportunities. International Migration Review, 50(3), 628–666.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Pecoraro, M., & Ruedin, D. (2017). The share of foreigners in one’s occupation and attitudes towards foreigners. In I. o. E. Research (Ed.), IRENE Working Paper (vol. 17–06). Neuchâtel.

  64. Phelps, E. S. (1972). The statistical theory of racism and sexism. The American Economic Review, 62(4), 659–661.

    Google Scholar 

  65. Phlippen, S., & van Eldert , B. (2017). Nederlander heeft liefst een Duitser op de werkvloer. Algemeen Dagblad. https://www.ad.nl/economie/nederlander-heeft-liefst-een-duitser-op-de-werkvloer~a7e6d172/. Accessed 15 Sept 2017.

  66. Rapp, C. (2015). More diversity, less tolerance? The effect of type of cultural diversity on the erosion of tolerance in Swiss municipalities. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 38(10), 1779–1797. https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2015.1015582.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  67. Raymann, U. (2003). Meinungen und Einstellungen gegenüber AusländerInnen in der Schweiz. Zürich: GfS-Forschungsinstitut.

    Google Scholar 

  68. Riach, P. A., & Rich, J. (2002). Field experiments of discrimination in the market place. The Economic Journal, 112(483), F480–F518. https://doi.org/10.2307/798458.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  69. Riach, P. A., & Rich, J. (2004). Deceptive field experiments of discrimination: are they ethical? Kyklos, 57(3), 457–470.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  70. Rich, J. (2014). What do field experiments of discrimination in markets tell us? A meta analysis of studies conducted since 2000. Discussion Paper Series. Bonn: IZA.

    Google Scholar 

  71. Ruedin, D., D’Amato, G., Wichmann, N., & Pecoraro, M. (2013). Migrationsängste der Schweizer Bevölkerung. Neuchâtel: Swiss Forum for Migration and Population Studies (SFM).

    Google Scholar 

  72. Seibert, H., Hupka-Brunner, S., & Imdorf, C. (2009). Wie Ausbildungssysteme Chancen verteilen - Berufsbildungschancen und ethnische Herkunft in Deutschland und der Schweiz unter Berücksichtigung des regionalen Verhältnisses von betrieblichen und schulischen Ausbildungen. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 61(4), 595–620.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  73. Thijssen, L. (2016). Taste-based versus statistical discrimination: placing the debate into context. GEMM Project.

  74. Vidal-Coso, E., & Ortega-Rivera, E. (2017). Skill composition and occupational incorporation of early and recent immigrants in Switzerland: the case of Italians and Spaniards. International Migration, 55(S1), 86–111.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  75. Weichselbaumer, D. (2016a). Discrimination against female migrants wearing headscarves. IZA Discussion Paper Series (no. 10217).

  76. Weichselbaumer, D. (2016b). Discrimination against migrant job applicants in Austria: an experimental study. German Economic Review, 18(2), 237–265. https://doi.org/10.1111/geer.12104.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  77. Zschirnt, E. (2016). Measuring hiring discrimination – a history of field experiments in discrimination research. NCCR Working Papers, 7, 1–32.

    Google Scholar 

  78. Zschirnt, E. (2019a). Research ethics in correspondence testing: an update. Research Ethics, Online first. https://doi.org/10.1177/1747016118820497.

  79. Zschirnt, E. (2019b). Equal outcomes, but different treatment – subtle discrimination in email responses from a correspondence test in Switzerland. Swiss Journal of Sociology, (in press).

  80. Zschirnt, E., & Ruedin, D. (2016). Ethnic discrimination in hiring decisions: a meta-analysis of correspondence tests 1990–2015. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 42(7), 1115–1134. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2015.1133279.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Daniel Auer, Rosita Fibbi, Flavia Fossati and Didier Ruedin for their comments.

Funding

This research was supported by the NCCR—on the move funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Eva Zschirnt.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Zschirnt, E. Evidence of Hiring Discrimination Against the Second Generation: Results from a Correspondence Test in the Swiss Labour Market. Int. Migration & Integration 21, 563–585 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12134-019-00664-1

Download citation

Keywords

  • Ethnic discrimination
  • Labour market
  • Hiring
  • Correspondence testing
  • Switzerland