Special Issue International Journal of Manpower on "Hiring Discrimination: Measures, Moderators and Mechanisms"

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Manpower

The 3nd Conference on “Labour Discrimination”, to be held at the Linnaeus University, Centre for Discrimination and Integration Studies (Växjö, Sweden), from August 23rd to August 24th 2017, will be devoted to a special issue of the International Journal of Manpower (IJM). The theme is hiring discrimination using experimental techniques.

There is a large body of research suggesting that discrimination in hiring is an important factor contributing to the poor labour market integration of minority groups in many countries (OECD, 2008). However, it is very challenging to actually measure this discrimination (Riach and Rich, 2002). The reason is that no decisive proof of discrimination can be obtained without controlling for all variables that might be correlated with the studied ground for discrimination and also affect employers’ hiring decisions. In response to this methodological issues, researchers have turned to field experiments to minimize biases and offer credible estimates (Bertrand and Mullainathan, 2004; Carlsson and Rooth, 2007; Neumark, In press; Oreopoulos, 2011; Pager, 2007).

The Special Issue aims to offer a collection of the most current methodical trends in the study of hiring discrimination using experimental techniques. While the previous studies in the literature are compelling in a sense that they provide an unbiased measure of discrimination, they still have limitations. Firstly, their external validity is sometimes questionable, since they focus only on the impact of a particular discrimination ground, for particular fictitious applicants, within particular occupations, and in a particular country. Secondly, measuring discrimination is one thing, tackling it may be another issue. To effectively combat hiring discrimination, it is necessary to understand its driving and underlying factors. To design adequate policy actions, targeted to the relevant employers in an appropriate way, it is required to have information about when individuals are discriminated in particular (moderators) and why employers discriminate against them (mechanisms).

Only very recently, we have started to see studies that try to address the aforementioned limitations. For instance, in a current study, researchers have attempted to address the external validity issue by conducting a single correspondence experiment, with an identical design, across several European countries, which allows for a cross-country comparison of discriminatory patterns in hiring (Rich et al., 2015). With respect to identifying moderators of hiring discrimination, Baert et al. (2015) and Drydakis (2015) tested labour market tightness and industrial characteristics (such as trade union representation, workplace size, and age structure) as moderators of discrimination. Related to the latter work, we have started to come across studies that take a more general approach in the design of the fictitious job applications used, by randomising not only the discrimination ground but also other applicant characteristics to enable distinguishing between different possible mechanisms underlying hiring discrimination (Rich, 2015; Neumark, In press). This new area of research will be the target of the proposed Special Issue.

The guest editors welcome multidisciplinary approaches, combining theoretical and empirical frameworks from labour economics and/or human resource management and/or economic psychology and/or labour sociology. Non-experimental research designs will require support by theoretical work to provide compelling research results. The call aims to highlight the connections between theory, empirical research and policy implications. In addition, papers should appeal to academics, policy makers and practicing managers. Categories of studies that are welcomed include:

  • Innovative eld experiments providing insight into hiring discrimination in OECD countries. In particular, we welcome experiments that compare discrimination across countries (potentially in combination with an investigation of its potential moderators and mechanisms).
  • Innovative non-experimental and quasi-experimental studies aimed at unbiased measures of hiring discrimination (potentially in combination with an investigation of its potential moderators and mechanisms).
  • Studies combining theoretical and empirical work on the moderators of hiring discrimination.
  • Studies combining field evidence on hiring discrimination with lab experimental or qualitative research to reveal the mechanisms underlying the measured discrimination.
  • Research informed policy papers on inclusive recruitment and discrimination-free selection.

This Call invites proposals for papers to be presented at the conference for this IJM Special Issue. The editor-in-chief of IJM, Adrian Ziderman together with the Guest Editors, Stijn Baert, Magnus Carlsson and Nick Drydakis, will make a selection from the papers presented at the conference for inclusion in a special issue of the IJM.

Authors may submit an abstract (tentative title, list of authors, and short description of the study) no later than May 1, 2017. These could be submitted to any of the Guest Editors at Stijn Baert (stijn.baert@ugent.be), Magnus Carlsson (magnus.carlsson@lnu.se) or Nick Drydakis (nick.drydakis@anglia.ac.uk).

Papers presented in person at the Conference in Växjö (Linnaeus University, Sweden) should be submitted in the IJM submission tool no later than September 15, 2017. The papers will be subjected to a double blind peer review. The Special Issue will be published in the second half of 2018.
Summary of the important dates:
Submission of abstracts: May 1, 2017
Notification of acceptance: June 1, 2017
Conference: August 23-24, 2017
Submission of full papers in IJM submission tool: September 15, 2017

Baert, S. Cockx, B. Gheyle and N. Vandamme, C. (2015). Is There Less Discrimination in Occupations Where Recruitment Is Difficult? Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 68: 467-500.
Bertrand, M. and Mullainathan, S. (2004). Are Emily, Greg More Employable than Lakisha, Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination. American Economic Review, 94: 991–1013.
Carlsson, M. and Rooth, D. O. (2007). Evidence of Ethnic Discrimination in the Swedish Labor Market Using Experimental Data. Labour Economics, 14: 716–729.
Drydakis, N. (2015). Measuring Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the UK’s Labour Market; A Field Experiment. Human Relations, 68: 1769‒1796.
Neumark, D. (In press). Experimental Research on Labor Market Discrimination. Journal of Economic Literature.
OECD (2008). The Price of Prejudice: Labour Market Discrimination on the Grounds of Gender and Ethnicity. In OECD: OECD Employment Outlook. Paris: OECD Publishing.
Oreopoulos, P. (2011). Why Do Skilled Immigrants Struggle in the Labor Market? A Field Experiment with Thirteen Thousand Resumes. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 3: 148–171.
Pager, D. (2007). The Use of Field Experiments for Studies of Employment Discrimination: Contributions, Critiques, Directions for the Future. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, 609: 104–133.
Riach, P. A. and Rich, J. (2002): Field Experiments of Discrimination in the Market Place. Economic Journal, 112: 480–518.
Rich, J. (2015). What Do Field Experiments of Discrimination in Markets Tell Us? A Meta-Analysis of Studies Conducted since 2000. IZA Discussion Papers No: 8584, Bonn.
Rich, J. Fontinha, R. and Lansbury, L. (2015). Do Employers Discriminate Against Trade Union Activists? An Experimental Study of Poland, Portugal and UK. Presented at the Economics and Finance Subject Group Staff Seminar of 4 March 2015, University of Portsmouth.