Bram Lancee

Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Amsterdam

Bringing the context back in

How national institutions and organizations shape ethnic discrimination in the labour market

Funded by The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (Vidi, € 800,000).

Bram Lancee (PI)

Existing research unequivocally shows that employers discriminate against ethnic minorities on the labour market. However, scholars have focused (too) much on why ethnic discrimination exists, while we don’t yet understand how discrimination comes about in the workplace. Relatedly, scholarly work on discrimination has been too concerned with its individual-level explanations, thereby largely ignoring the role of the workplace.

Hence, a pressing question that has not been yet been sufficiently addressed is: how does the organizational (i.e. firm) and national institutional context affect discriminatory behaviour of employers? The aim of the project is to hypothesize and empirically assess the ‘institutional circumstances’ under which ethnicity becomes decisive in hiring and promotion decisions. The proposed research thereby responds to the longstanding plea of leading scholars studying ascriptive inequality that we must ‘bring the firm back in.’

This VIDI project is the first comprehensive, cross-national study on how the institutional context shapes discriminatory behaviour of employers. The project collects unique organizational data and conducts a vignette study among employers. The research allows developing and testing new insights on how policy makers can reduce discriminatory behaviour of employers.

PhD candidates: Katharina Stückradt and Tobi Sachs

Collaborators: Dr. Valentina DiStasio and Prof. Dr. Astrid Homan