Essays on Labor Market Disparities and Discrimination : Immigration, Education and Gender

University dissertation from Stockholm : Department of Economics, Stockholm University

Abstract: The thesis consists of four papers, summarized as follows.Do Host Country Educations Even Out the Playing Field? Immigrant-Native Labor Market Gaps in Sweden This study follows a cohort of students from Swedish compulsory school graduation in 1988 until 2002 to document differences in education, including grades and field of education, and labor market outcomes between immigrants and natives. Results indicate initial differences in youth labor market status and long term differences in employment rates, most notably for those with Non-European backgrounds.Acculturation Identity and Higher Education: Is There a Trade-off Between Ethnic Identity and Education?This paper examines the role of identification to home and host cultures on the pursuit of higher educations for individuals with immigrant backgrounds. Identity is defined according to a two-dimensional acculturation framework based on strength of identification to both ethnic background cultures and the majority culture. The results put into question the premise of oppositional identities.Is It How You Look or Speak That Matters? -An Experimental Study Exploring the Mechanisms of Ethnic DiscriminationUsing a laboratory experiment, we explore the following questions: Are beliefs about performance affected by if a candidate is perceived to have looks that are non-stereotypical for the dominant population? Do these beliefs change if the candidate has a native-like vs. accented speech? We find that candidates not perceived as stereotypically Swedish are considered to be worse performers. When candidates are presented by both looks and speech, we find negative beliefs for candidates that speak Swedish with a foreign-accent.Sector Differences in the Glass Ceiling in Sweden -Is Occupational Segregation the Explanation?This paper explores sector differences in how the gender wage gap varies across the wage distribution and examines the role of occupational segregation in explaining this variation for Sweden. Results indicate that the phenomenon known as the glass ceiling is stronger in the public sector than in the private sector. This difference is found to be due to occupational segregation.

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