The Ethnic Hierarchy in Hiring Discrimination. Evidence From a Harmonized Field Experiment in Six Countries

09.04.2024 - 13:45 to 15:15
Location : 
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Type of Event : 
AB A-Kolloquium
Bram Lancee
Lecturer affiliation: 
University of Amsterdam


To understand discrimination in diverse societies, a framework is needed that links exclusion processes to a multitude of outgroups. Relying on ethnic hierarchy theory, this field experimental study theorizes and investigates empirically to what extent hiring discrimination varies across ethnic groups, how this variation can be explained, and whether such patterns vary cross-nationally. For the empirical analysis, we conducted a cross-national harmonized field experiment on hiring discrimination against thirty minority groups in Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States (N=15,541). We find robust evidence for an ethnic hierarchy in hiring discrimination: employers strongly differentiate across ethnic groups in making hiring decisions. Furthermore, the ethnic hierarchy is multidimensional: both (perceived) cultural characteristics and the socioeconomic standing of ethnic minority groups explain variation in discrimination. Ethnic hierarchies are not universal but vary across countries. By showing how ethnic hierarchies vary across countries, this study demonstrates the need for a comparative design to study employment discrimination.