Valentina Di Stasio (Utrecht University) (webinar)
11 February 2021 @ 14:00 - 15:30
“Islam as a “Bright Boundary” in Europe: Evidence of Anti-Muslim Discrimination from Cross-National Field Experiments”
Abstract: Drawing on the GEMM project, a cross-nationally harmonized field experiment conducted in five European countries (Britain, Germany, Netherlands, Norway and Spain), I analyze whether and how employers discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, religion and gender when making hiring decisions. I focus on applicants with identical skills, qualifications and work experience but varying in gender, ethnic and religious background, and compare the callbacks they received after applying to gender-typed and gender-balanced occupations in different institutional contexts. In the seminar, I present selected findings from a set of studies on the topic of anti-Muslim discrimination. I show that applicants originating from countries where Islam is the dominant religion are heavily discriminated by employers. In particular, in the British context, a meta-analysis indicates that the level of discrimination faced by South Asians is as high today as it was 50 years ago. With regard to cross-national differences (and similarities!) in discrimination rates, common institutional explanations for discrimination cannot plausibly account for the pattern of findings I observe. Finally, I show that employers are not simply reluctant to hire applicants from culturally distant groups, but rather have an especially strong aversion to hiring Muslims. At the same time, there is large variation in the callbacks received by Muslim applicants, depending on their origin country: employers are less likely to hire Muslims who originate from more authoritarian and more gender-unequal countries, which suggests that Islam is a brighter boundary for some Muslim groups than others.