Labor Market Discrimination and White Name Adoption: A Field Experiment in the Australian Labor Market.

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 28.07.2015, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Shyamal Chowdhury (University of Sydney)


Adoption of White/ ethnic majority’s first name by non-Whites/ethnic minorities is widely observed in Australia and abroad. This paper experimentally investigates the returns to adopting a White first name in the Australian Labour market. Rather than comparing outcomes between two ethnic groups with varying levels of human capital, like White and Aboriginal workers, this paper uses the sociological concept of the Chinese as a "model minority". Young Chinese have comparable levels of human capital with Whites, providing a closer approximation of a ceteris paribus comparison. Fictitious CVs comprising three different names types, i) White sounding names, ii) Chinese sounding names, and iii) the ‘Name Adopters’, who combine a White first name with a Chinese last name, are sent in response to real job ads. We contrast the outcomes (responses, interview offers) of the three different name types. We also collect information on the recruiters' race, gender, and the number of years of job market history. Large racial gaps exist between Chinese and White names, and the returns for adopting a White first name are significant. 'Name Adopters' are substantially more likely to receive an interview offer, even though they are ethnically identical with those who choose to use a Chinese first name. We explore the possible explanations and implications of our results.

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