Alison Booth, Elena Varganova and I have just released a study comprising three experiments to gauge racial and ethnic discrimination in Australia.
Does Racial and Ethnic Discrimination Vary Across Minority Groups? Evidence From Three Experiments by Alison Booth, Andrew Leigh & Elena Varganova
We conducted several large-scale field experiments to measure labor market discrimination across different minority groups in Australia - a country where one quarter of the population was born overseas. To denote ethnicity, we used distinctively Anglo-Saxon, Indigenous, Italian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern names, and our goal was a comparison across multiple ethnic groups rather than focusing on a single minority as in most other studies.
Our main experiment, an audit discrimination study, involved sending over 4,000 fictional resumes to employers in response to job advertisements. In all cases, we applied for entry-level jobs and submitted a CV showing that the candidate had attended high school in Australia. We found economically and statistically significant differences in callback rates, suggesting that ethnic minority candidates would need to apply for more jobs in order to receive the same number of interviews.
These differences vary systematically across groups, with Italians (a more established migrant group) suffering less discrimination than Chinese and Middle Easterners (who have typically arrived more recently).
We also conducted two additional experiments to form a more nuanced picture of prejudice. These were a ‘Return to Sender’ experiment and an Implicit Association Test. The results from both experiments reveal societal prejudice against minority groups, although the ranking sometimes differs from that in the audit discrimination study.
(See also a media release, brief summary of results.)
First published on Andrew Leigh's blog on June 17, 2009. Best Blogs 2009 is run in collaboration with Club Troppo.
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About the Author
Andrew Leigh is the member for Fraser (ACT). Prior to his election in 2010, he was a professor in the Research School of Economics at the Australian National University, and has previously worked as associate to Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court of Australia, a lawyer for Clifford Chance (London), and a researcher for the Progressive Policy Institute (Washington DC). He holds a PhD from Harvard University and has published three books and over 50 journal articles. His books include Disconnected (2010), Battlers and Billionaires (2013) and The Economics of Just About Everything (2014).