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Trends in Hiring Discrimination Against Racial and Ethnic Minorities in Six Western Countries (WP-22-25)

Lincoln Quillian and John J. Lee

The researchers examine trends in hiring discrimination against racial and ethnic minority groups in six European and North American countries: Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and the United States. Their sample is composed of all available discrimination estimates from 90 field experimental studies of hiring discrimination, encompassing more than 170,000 applications for jobs. The years covered vary by country, ranging from 1970–2017 for Great Britain to 1994–2017 for Germany. Across countries, minority groups, and controlling for study attributes, the results indicate that levels of discrimination in callbacks for interviews have remained either unchanged or slightly increased. There are three notable exceptions. First, hiring discrimination against minorities with ethnic origins in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) increased during the 2000s relative to the 1990s. Second, the researchers find that discrimination in France declined, although from very high to “merely” high levels. Third, they find evidence that discrimination in the Netherlands has increased over time. Contrary to the idea that discrimination will tend to decline in Western countries, they find that discrimination has not fallen in five of the six Western countries they examine over the last few decades.

Lincoln Quillian, Professor of Sociology and IPR Fellow, Northwestern University

John J. Lee, Department of Sociology, Northwestern University

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