Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 307–337 | Cite as

The heterogeneity of ethnic employment gaps

  • Romain Aeberhardt
  • Élise Coudin
  • Roland RathelotEmail author
Original Paper


This paper investigates the heterogeneity of ethnic employment gaps using a new single-index based approach. Instead of stratifying our sample by age or education, we study ethnic employment gaps along a continuous measure of employability, the employment probability minority workers would have if their characteristics were priced as in the majority group. We apply this method to French males, comparing those whose parents are North African immigrants and those with native parents. We find that both the raw and the unexplained ethnic employment differentials are larger for low-employability workers than for high-employability ones. We show in a theoretical framework that this heterogeneity can be accounted for by homogeneous underlying mechanisms and is not evidence for, say, heterogeneous discrimination. Finally, we discuss our main empirical findings in the light of simple taste-based vs. statistical discrimination models.


Discrimination Employment differentials Decomposition 



We would like to thank three anonymous reviewers as well as Klaus Zimmermann for their helpful comments as well as Pierre Cahuc, Laurent Davezies, Xavier D’Haultfœ uille, Denis Fougère, Laurent Gobillon, Pauline Givord, Nicolas Jacquemet, Kevin Lang, Guy Laroque, Thomas Le Barbanchon, Dominique Meurs, Sophie Osotimehin, Sébastien Roux, Maxime Tô, Marie-Anne Valfort, and Etienne Wasmer, and the participants to the INSEE-DEEE, the CEE and the CREST-LMi seminars, the EEA, and the EALE annual conferences for their insightful remarks. Any opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not of any institution.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Romain Aeberhardt
    • 1
  • Élise Coudin
    • 1
  • Roland Rathelot
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.CRESTParisFrance
  2. 2.University of WarwickCoventryUK

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