Thursday, May 07, 2009

Discrimination in Ireland: Evidence from a Field Experiment

From the ESRI - interesting!

This study breaks new ground in Irish research by providing direct evidence of discrimination using a field experiment that investigates discrimination in recruitment on the basis of ethnic and national origin. Two individuals, identical on all relevant characteristics other than the potential basis of discrimination, apply for the same jobs. Responses are carefully recorded, and discrimination or the lack thereof is then measured as the extent to which one applicant is invited to interview relative to the other applicant. In this experiment we test discrimination against 3 minority groups: Africans, Asians and Europeans (Germans), using distinctive names to signal ethnic or national origin, as is typical in experiments of this nature.
It was found that candidates with Irish names were over twice as likely to be invited to interview for advertised jobs as candidates with identifiably non-Irish names, even though both submitted equivalent CVs. We did not find significant differences in the degree of discrimination faced by candidates with Asian, African or German names. Strong discrimination was found against minority candidates across the occupations tested (lower administration, lower accountancy and retail sales).

1 comment:

Kevin Denny said...

This work has been done in other countries with similar results so no big deal. However I have said it before and I will say it again: in my view work of this kind is unethical. It wastes the time of unsuspecting individuals with bogus applications.A basic rule for experiments is informed consent & not making people worse off.This fails on both accounts. A counter-argument that is made is that "well it only wastes a little bit of their time". But for a start we don't know that & secondly one doesn't have a right to just as I don't have a right to take just a small amount of money from your pocket.
It is normal to debrief participants after an experiment. I wonder was that done here. My guess is not as the employers would be mighty pissed off when they found out. As one who is involved in recruitment from time to time I would be most annoyed to know people were using me like this.