The Matching Hierarchies Model: Evidence from a Survey Experiment on Employers’ Hiring Intent of Immigrant Applicants

29 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2016

See all articles by Daniel Auer

Daniel Auer

WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Giuliano Bonoli

University of Lausanne - Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration

Flavia Fossati

University of Lausanne

Fabienne Liechti

University of Lausanne - IDHEAP/SPAN

Date Written: March 19, 2016

Abstract

Why do immigrants encounter labour market integration difficulties? We propose a model that combines ethnic rankings and occupational rankings to predict who employers are likely to favour for particular occupations (matching hierarchy model). We argue that for jobs that are high on the occupational hierarchy a foreign nationality carries a bad signal due to a high level of social distance. Conversely, at the low end of the occupational hierarchy a Swiss passport conveys a negative signal to employers. We test this model by means of a survey experiment (conjoint analysis) in the hotel sector in Switzerland in 2015. We found that employers’ evaluation of non-nationals follow the patterns suggested by social distance but that a non-native background leads to disadvantage foremost in the higher skilled occupation (receptionist). In the low-skilled occupation, instead having a Portuguese background is actually an advantage. We conclude that to understand disadvantage patterns it is important to be aware of contextual factors (here occupational hierarchies) that may change the nature of nationality-based signals.

Keywords: nationality, statistical discrimination, labour market, occupation, employer, Switzeralnd

JEL Classification: J71, I38

Suggested Citation

Auer, Daniel and Bonoli, Giuliano and Fossati, Flavia and Liechti, Fabienne, The Matching Hierarchies Model: Evidence from a Survey Experiment on Employers’ Hiring Intent of Immigrant Applicants (March 19, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2750794 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2750794

Daniel Auer

WZB Berlin Social Science Center ( email )

Reichpietschufer 50
D-10785 Berlin, 10785
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.daniel-auer.com

Giuliano Bonoli

University of Lausanne - Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration ( email )

R.te de la Maladière 21
Chavannes-Renens, CH-1022
Switzerland

Flavia Fossati (Contact Author)

University of Lausanne ( email )

Quartier Chambronne
Lausanne, Vaud CH-1015
Switzerland

Fabienne Liechti

University of Lausanne - IDHEAP/SPAN ( email )

Route de la Maladiere 21
Chavannes-Lausanne, 1022
Switzerland

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