Studies in many different countries of immigration have shown that, even if we control for education and demographic characteristics, immigrants and their descendants tend to have lower rates of labour market participation, higher unemployment rates, and are concentrated in lower status and lower income jobs. In this course, we investigate to what extent such “ethnic penalties” are due to discrimination or to immigrant-specific human and social capital deficits. Regarding discrimination we ask what the contribution is of different characteristics in triggering discrimination by employers: is it a question of ethnicity, race, religion or cultural distance? We also discuss the theoretical difference between so-called “taste” and “statistical” discrimination. Finally, we discuss the legitimacy and efficacy of ways to combat discrimination, such as affirmative action or anonymized application procedures. We discuss both the main theories of discrimination and key statistical and field-experimental empirical studies.
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