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Ethnic Discrimination In Labour Markets For Different

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In 1991 Greece experienced the first waves of immigrants which consisted of a majority Albanians. The flows of albanian immigration were responded by a negative bias and a fear in personal security from the greek people due to the history between the countries. Despite of that the Greek labour market was open for low-paid labour which led to a large number of Albanian workers. A substantial fraction of the Albanian workers were not insured and working illegally​(Drydakis and Vlassis,2010)

In Switzerland the 3 biggest foreign groups are Germans, Turks and Kosovars. With a population of approximately 8 million, about a quarter are immigrants and this leads to Switzerland having ‘’one of the biggest shares of foreign citizens in Europe’’. An interesting fact is also that the 3 biggest foreign groups came in different waves, Turkish immigrants arrived first as ‘’guest’’ workers and later Kosovars arrived as refugees in the early 90s after the Yugoslavian war and lastly a wave of highly skilled German immigrants arrived. (Zschirnt, 2019)

The last country that is going to be observed considered discrimination in labour markets is Sweden. Sweden has had compelling changes considering immigrations, During 1940 Sweden had only 1% inhabitants that were born in another country. Approximately 15% of the working age in Sweden were born in another country the year 2008. There is also a high amount of diversity among the immigrant groups in Sweden, people from Western Europe, Middle east, Latin America and Africa. (Bursell, 2014)

I have chosen three articles to examine when trying to see​ if there is any ethnic discrimination in labour markets​, the articles that i have chosen are based on labour market studies for different countries Greece, Sweden and Switzerland and the articles are as following “ Ethnic discrimination in the Greek labour market: Occupational access, insurance and coverage and wage offers” by Drydakis, Nick Vlassis, Minas “Evidence of hiring discrimination against the second generation: results from a correspondence test in the Swiss labour market” by Eva Zchrint and “The multiple burdens of foreign-named men-Evidence from a field experiment on gendered ethnic hiring discrimination in Sweden” by Moa Bursell.

There is a immense relevance to this question and why it needs to be studied, for example currently there is a high mobility when in spite of moving to different countries due to different factors like career options, war and poverty for instance and the pattern is continuous. To achieve an effective labour market equal opportunities is of importance and it plays a major role when immigrating to a country. The role of ​the labour market is one of the fundamental places for integrating into the society, although little information is known about how immigrants get by in the labour market ​(Zschirnt, 2019).


The theory behind the first article “E​thnic discrimination in the Greek labour market: Occupational access, insurance and coverage and wage offers” is described by that there is not only one sole theory that explains labour market discrimination but the two general are: first ‘’the taste hypothesis (Becker,1957,1971)’’ which visualize discrimination as a sort of preference. Basically the preference of the employers is stationed on a idea that they want to preserve a physical or social isolation from a minority group, or a suspicion of that the customers or other employees dislike interaction with minorities. Secondly the theory that discrimination is a result from profit-maximizing, that employers are uncertain of the productivity of individual workers. Statistical discrimination is predicting that employers generally think that minorities are less productive than majorities (Phelps,1972;Arrow 1973.).

Drydakis and Vlassis will investigate if Albanian immigrants still are facing discrimination in the Greek labour market when considering employment, wage and insurance, 2 years after the European Union’s anti discrimination legislation.

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In the second article “​Evidence of hiring discrimination against the second generation: results from a correspondence test in the Swiss labour market” by Eva Zcshrint is quite similiar to the theory from Drydakis and Vlassis article. Eva uses the theory of the taste-based discrimination by Becker (1957) but also Phelps and Arrows (1972,1973) where discrimination is a rational based on a that minorities are less productive than majorities in a prejudice aspect. In the last article “The multiple burdens of foreign-named men-Evidence from a field experiment on gendered ethnic hiring discrimination in Sweden” by Moa Bursell.

The theoretical framework consists of cultural stereotypes about ethnicity, gender but also expectations about individuals with heterogeneous ethnic backgrounds. The aim is to for this study is to conclude if there is any unequal treatment against foreign-named men and women and how they differ(Bursell, 2014).


In Greece, to be able study discrimination in wage, insurance coverage and employment for the Albanians the authors created two imaginary applicants. Both applicants obtained the same curriculum vitae and they were send with different fax devices. The focus was on low-skilled groups like non-graduate male applicants in the private sector and the different occupations were Cafe’ and restaurant services, industries and office jobs. The CV for the applicants consisted of identical characteristics like age, schooling,working experience, hobbies, personal characteristics, they had also both carried out military service but in different areas in Athens to avoid detection. They both got telephone number, and addresses the only thing that was different was their first and last name of the applicants, they got ethnically distinctive names. When firms called back two testers asked informal questions regarding insurance coverage offers and wage and in order to be identical in the characteristics like articulation and accent the authors had pre-tests.The applications were sended to 789 job openings.(DRYDAKIS and VLASSIS, 2010).

The design of the research done in Switzerland was similar to the tests done in Greece but differs in some aspects. One aspect is that the study was done on Turkish, Kosovar and German immigrants. This raises a problem when considering the German names signaling ethnic identity. The names were constructed by using government statistics and websites on common names. Also it was important that the name combinations had not been used in a study before, and that there were several people registered with the names so it would be impossible for a employer to try identifying a fictitious applicant. Another factor that differs in this study compared to the one in Greece is that in the CV it was written that the applicants were native speakers of their different countries and also having a dual citizenships. Thirdly it differed in the focus groups, in this study the focus was not only on low-skilled jobs but also for jobs that required intermediate. The ‘’low-skilled’’ jobs were electricians and sales assistants and for the intermediate group it consisted of nurses and HR-clerks. Profiles in the CV provided necessary qualifications for the occupations, same work experience, a completed Federal Vocational Degree. In this study 1120 applications were sent to 560 vacancies. Whilst in this study discrimination is measured in the amount of callbacks(Zschirnt, 2019).

The experiment design for the study in sweden focused on 4 different fictitious applicants, men and women with Swedish names and Arabic – North African- sounding names. The CVs were constructed to match requirements determined by the job announcement. Schooling, Age and experience was similar for the applicants(based on the job requirements). The study consisted of 16 different occupations, computer specialists,engineers, high school teachers, civil engineers, receptionists ,salesmen, drivers, nurses, stockroom-workers cleaners, carpenters and cashiers. Before the CV was sent ethnicity was randomly assigned(Bursell, 2014).

A weakness in the Greek study is that they used only two different applicants and that they were assigned only low skilled jobs. Comparing to the Swiss study one which has it’s strength in both low-skilled and intermediate jobs but also using different immigrant groups. Notable is also that a weakness for the swiss study is that they used just 4 different occupations which can lead to difficulties when trying to obtain a whole picture. The swedish experiment uses 16 different occupations which can lead to inexplicit results based on how many applications were sent in each different occupation. But it can also bring a strength in the result and conclusion that can be drawn. Overall all the 3 studies had quite similar approaches when trying to obtain a result.

Summary and conclusion

From the results we can conclude that for Greece the Albanian applicant has 21.4 percentage points lower probability to receive an interview compared to a Greek. The albanian applicant has also 25.7 percentage points lower probability to receive a insurance compared to a Greek applicant. Besides that the Albanian is offered a wage on average 11% lower than the Greek. Similar results can be drawn for Sweden, of the 1035 applications that resulted in callbacks whereas 65% were directed to candidates with Swedish names and 17.6% for those with Arabic names and lastly 17.4% for those with North African names. The results for Switzerland differ comparing with the other two, in total we can see that the swiss candidates received a positive feedback on 39.8% of the applications whilst German applicants had almost as high share of positive responses with 38.7%, thereafter Turkish-named applicants had 34.4% and lastly those with a Kosovar name had the lowest rate of 32.5%. The theories used can explain the result for respective study, there is a truth in discrimination considering preferences, profit-maximization but also stereotypes.

In all of the 3 studies we can see a pattern of discrimination in the labour market for respective countries. Switzerland with the best results has also the latest study and maybe that has an impact.


  1. Bursell, M. (2014). The Multiple Burdens of Foreign-Named Men–Evidence from a Field Experiment on Gendered Ethnic Hiring Discrimination in Sweden. ​European Sociological Review​, 30(3), pp.399-409.
  3. Zschirnt, E. (2019). Evidence of Hiring Discrimination Against the Second Generation: Results from a Correspondence Test in the Swiss Labour Market. ​Journal of International Migration and Integration​.

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