Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy

No 2011:21: Are homosexuals discriminated against in the hiring process?

Ali Ahmed (), Lina Andersson () and Mats Hammarstedt ()
Additional contact information
Ali Ahmed: Linnaeus University, Postal: Sweden
Lina Andersson: Linnaeus University, Postal: Sweden
Mats Hammarstedt: Linnaeus University, Postal: Sweden

Abstract: This paper presents the first field experiment on sexual orientation discrimination in the hiring process in the Swedish labor market. Job applications were sent to about 4,000 employers in 10 different occupations in Sweden. Gender and sexual orientation were randomly assigned to applications. The results show that sexual orientation discrimi-nation exists in the Swedish labor market. The discrimination against gays and lesbian varies across different occupations and appears only in the private sector. The results also seem to suggest a new dimension of traditional gender roles; the gay applicant was discriminated against in typical male-dominated occupations whereas the lesbian applicant was discriminated against in typical female-dominated occupations. Thus, the results suggest that gays to some extent face the same obstacles on the labor market as heterosexual women.

Keywords: Labor market discrimination; sexual orientation; field experiment

JEL-codes: C93; J15; J71

29 pages, November 28, 2011

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