Cultural Assimilation and Ethnic Discrimination: An Audit Study with Schools

36 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2019 Last revised: 4 Mar 2021

Date Written: February 17, 2020


In a field experiment, I test whether the cultural assimilation efforts of immigrant families mitigate discriminatory attitudes of schools. To this end, I sent fictitious visit requests to more than 2,500 schools located in the Community of Madrid (Spain). I find that, controlling for family characteristics, Romanian families who gave a Spanish name to their child are 50% less discriminated than those who selected a Romanian name for their offspring. Emails from families whose members have Romanian names are 12% less likely to receive a response than emails from Spanish-name families. I do not find evidence of heterogeneous effects across school, neighborhood, or municipality characteristics. This suggests that the socioeconomic composition and political preferences of the population do not affect the size of discrimination and returns to assimilation efforts.

Keywords: migration, assimilation, names, discrimination, field experiment, education, identity

JEL Classification: I20, J15, R23

Suggested Citation

Martinez de Lafuente, David, Cultural Assimilation and Ethnic Discrimination: An Audit Study with Schools (February 17, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

David Martinez de Lafuente (Contact Author)

ISEAK ( email )

Don Diego López Haroko Kale Nagusia, 56
Bilbao, Bizkaia 48009

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics