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Pride and prejudice: using ethnic-sounding names and inter-ethnic marriages to identify labor market discrimination

Rubinstein, Yona and Brenner, D. (2014) Pride and prejudice: using ethnic-sounding names and inter-ethnic marriages to identify labor market discrimination. Review of Economic Studies, 81 (1). pp. 389-425. ISSN 0034-6527

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Identification Number: 10.1093/restud/rdt031

Abstract

labour markets discriminate against workers with particular ethnic-sounding names? We use non-random sorting into interethnic marriage and salient differences between Sephardic and Ashkenazi surnames to evaluate the causal impact of Sephardic affiliation on wages. Using the 1995 Israeli Census, we estimate the effect of a Sephardic sounding surname on wages. We first compare the wages of Israeli Jewish males born to Sephardic fathers and Ashkenazi mothers (SA), who are more likely to carry a Sephardic surname, with the wages of Israeli Jewish males born to Ashkenazi fathers and Sephardic mothers (AS). We find that Israeli labor markets discriminate based on perceived ethnicity: SA workers earn significantly less than their AS counterparts. We then exploit the custom of women to adopt their husbands’ surnames to disentangle actual ethnicity from the ethnicity perceived by the market. Consistent with ethnic discrimination based on surnames, we find that it is father-in-law’s ethnicity – rather than father’s ethnicity – that shapes female wage rates. Finally, we find that labor markets discriminate based on surname only when those names provide additional information about ethnicity. When ethnicity can be discerned from skin tone, surnames do not provide additional explanatory power with respect to wages.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://restud.oxfordjournals.org/
Additional Information: © 2013 The Author
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Sets: Departments > Management
Collections > Economists Online
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2013 08:38
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2016 16:40
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/48010

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