Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 1271: Ethnic Discrimination in Contacts with Public Authorities: A Correspondence Test Among Swedish Municipalities

Ali Ahmed () and Mats Hammarstedt ()
Additional contact information
Ali Ahmed: Department of Management and Engineering, Postal: Linköping University
Mats Hammarstedt: Linnaeus University Centre for Discrimination and Integration Studies, Postal: and Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: We present a field experiment conducted in order to explore the existence of ethnic discrimination in contact with public authorities. Two fictitious parents, one with a Swedish-sounding name and one with an Arabic-sounding name, sent email inquiries to all Swedish municipalities asking for information about preschool admission for their children. Results show that the parents were treated differently by the municipalities since the individual with the Swedish-sounding name received significantly more responses that answered the question in the inquiry than the individual with the Arabic-sounding name. Also, the individual with the Swedish-sounding name received more warm answers than the individual with the Arabic-sounding name in the sense that the answer from the municipality started with a personal salutation. We conclude that ethnic discrimination is prevalent in public sector contacts and that this discrimination has implications for the integration of immigrants and their children.

Keywords: Discrimination; Subtle discrimination; Authorities; Field experiment

JEL-codes: C93; H83; J15

20 pages, April 5, 2019

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