Gender, Parenthood, Ethnicity and Discrimination in the Labor Market : Experimental Studies on Discrimination in Recruitment in Sweden

Sammanfattning: This dissertation uses experimental methods to study hiring discrimination based on gender, parenthood and ethnicity in the Swedish labor market. Also, the role of recruiter gender for gender and ethnic discrimination is studied. Three of the four empirical studies (Study I, Study II and Study IV), are based on field experiment data using a correspondence testing method. This involves fictitious job applications sent to announced jobs, and the employer responses to these. Signals of applicant characteristics such as gender, parenthood status, and ethnicity are randomly assigned to the job applications whereas qualifications are held constant (within occupations). Study III is based on a laboratory experiment in which (fictious) job candidates are evaluated.Study I does not show any evidence of discrimination based on gender or parenthood, or any combination of these, in the first step of the hiring process, neither in highly nor less qualified occupations. Study II shows that male job applicants are favored by male recruiters, especially in gender-balanced occupations.Study III shows a statistically significant gender bias in job applicant ratings in favor of female applicants in a laboratory setting. This is particularly the case for female evaluators. Moreover, Study III shows no motherhood penalty in the applicant ratings.Study IV presents evidence of ethnic discrimination against foreign-named job applicants by both male and female recruiters. Further, there is evidence of gendered ethnic discrimination, i.e., male applicants with foreign-sounding names receive considerably fewer positive responses than female applicants with foreign-sounding names. While female recruiters favor foreign-named female applicants over foreign-named male applicants, particularly in highly qualified occupations, male recruiters appear to prefer foreign-named females over foreign-named males in male-dominated occupations.To summarize, the findings from this dissertation provide little support for the notion of discrimination in recruitment as an important mechanism behind gender inequalities in the Swedish labor market. However, the results indicate that discrimination in the recruitment process contributes to the labor market inequality of ethnic minorities, and of ethnic minority men in particular. Moreover, the findings suggest that recruiter gender matters for the success of male and female job candidates, and in particular for foreign-named men and women, at least in some occupational contexts.