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Discrimination in Recruitment: Evidence from a Field Experiment

Author(s):

McGinnity, Frances / Nelson, Jacqueline / Lunn, Pete / Quinn, Emma

Publisher

The Equality Authority and ESRI

Place of Publication

Dublin

Publication Date

07/05/09

ISBN/ISSN No

9780707002781

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Abstract

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).


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