Frank Kalter, Irena Kogan
Ethnic inequalities at the transition from school to work in Belgium and Spain: Discrimination or self-exclusion?
In the labor market, net disadvantages of immigrants, so-called “ethnic penalties”, may stem from rather different sources, among them discrimination by employers or self-exclusion processes. This paper attempts to indirectly disentangle these two mechanisms by studying ethnic penalties from a time-related perspective. Using the EULFS 2000 ad hoc module on school-to-work transitions, a comparative event-history analysis of entry into stable higher status employment is conducted for two European countries, Belgium and Spain. These countries differ considerably in their immigration contexts and patterns of school-to-work transitions, requiring different hypotheses about the relevance of the self-exclusion mechanism. The results show that in Belgium ethnic penalties for non-EU immigrants exist and remain constant irrespective of the length of the job search. In Spain the gap between non-EU immigrants and the native-born is even more pronounced and, importantly, increases significantly over time. This leads to the conclusion that discrimination seems to be relevant in both contexts and that self-exclusion resulting from early abandonment of job search activities is a further important factor in Spain.