Dahl, Malte. Alike but Different: How Cultural Distinctiveness Shapes Immigrant-Origin Minorities’ Access to the Labour Market. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 23(4), 2022, 2269–2287.
Does cultural dissimilarity explain discrimination against immigrant-origin minorities in the labour market? I conducted a factorial field experiment (N = 1350) to explore how explicit group cues trigger differential treatment and whether individuating information that counters cultural-based stereotypical representations mitigate discrimination. Employers were randomly assigned a job application with a putative female ethnic majority or immigrant-origin minority alias and CV photographs portraying the minority candidate with or without a headscarf—perhaps the quintessential marker of Muslim identity. Moreover, half the job applications conveyed information intended to reduce cultural distance by indicating a liberal lifestyle and civic participation. The results demonstrate that immigrant-origin women are significantly less likely to receive an invitation to a job interview, especially if they also wear a headscarf. Contrary to expectations, the differential treatment is not moderated by the individuating information in the applications. This indicates that the differential treatment is persistent and also targets immigrant-origin minorities who have acquired soft skills and signals cultural proximity.