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Hiring or firing? The dynamics of unemployment inequality among the children of immigrants

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posted on 2023-01-18, 08:13 authored by Raffaele Grotti, Siddartha AradhyaSiddartha Aradhya, Juho Härkönen

A large body of research has studied the channels driving ethnic inequalities in unemployment rates. Especially recently, research has almost exclusively examined barriers to unemployment exit (becoming employed) in the form of hiring discrimination conveying the idea that inequality in unemployment is all about hiring. Roughly no studies, in fact, have focused on the role of unemployment entry in explain ethnic and racial inequalities in unemployment. We contribute to this debate by examining inequalities in exiting and entering unemployment across second-generation immigrants and natives in Sweden and propose two possible explanations: hiring discrimination and precariousness. This marks an important extension to existing research because we shed light on the most relevant dynamic in accounting for the ethnic unemployment gap. Analyses are based on Swedish population registers. Correlated random-effects dynamic models are used to derive group-specific steady-state probabilities (SSP). In addition, we estimate counterfactual SSP where second-generation immigrants have natives’ unemployment 1) entry probabilities and 2) exit probabilities. Our results show that equalizing unemployment exit does not reduce unemployment inequality. Rather, the unemployment gap disappears when equalizing unemployment entry. This points towards differences in precariousness to be a likely force at work.


The project CRITEVENTS is financially supported by the NORFACE Joint Research Programme on Dynamics of Inequality Across the Life-course, which is co-funded by the European Commission through Horizon 2020 under grant agreement No 724363

Vetenskapsrådet (the Swedish Research Council), grant number 2020-01285

The Baltic Sea Foundation under grant number S1-20-0052




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Hiring or firing? The dynamics of unemployment inequality among the children of immigrants

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310 Sociologiska institutionen | Department of Sociology