Daniel Auer, Giuliano Bonoli, Flavia Fossati, Fabienne Liechti
The Matching Hierarchies Model: Evidence from a Survey Experiment on Employers’ Hiring Intent Regarding Immigrant Applicants

International Migration Review, 2018: 53, issue 1, pp. 90-121
ISSN: 0197-9183 (print), 1747-7379 (online)

We seek to understand why immigrants encounter labor market integration difficulties and thus propose a model that combines ethnic and occupational rankings to predict which candidates employers will favor for particular occupations (a matching hierarchies model). In a Swiss survey experiment, we found that employers’ evaluations of non-natives follow sociocultural distance perceptions and that a non-native background is a disadvantage mainly in high-skilled occupations. In low-skilled occupations, having an immigrant background is less detrimental. In elucidating disadvantage patterns, we conclude that it is important to consider contextual factors (occupational hierarchies) that may change the nature of nationality-based discrimination.