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Weight-Based Discrimination in the Italian Labor Market: an Analysis of the Interaction with Gender and Ethnicity

Abstract

Access to the Italian job market is undermined by several kinds of discrimination influencing the opportunities for individuals to obtain a job. In this study, we analyze together the impact of three of the most relevant kinds of discrimination operating in the Italian labor market: gender, race, and weight. Our aim is to assess whether gender and race either increase or decrease the impact of weight-based discrimination. In this respect, we submit a set of fictitious résumés including photos of either obese or thin applicants in response to real online job offers. Our results indicate that the strongest kind of discrimination operating in the Italian labor market is the one connected to the candidate’s geographical origin. Moreover, we find discrimination based on body weight to be more relevant within immigrants than within natives, and gender gap appears to be higher within the obese candidates’ group compared to the normal-weight candidates’ one. This last result is particularly relevant, as the growing rates of obesity forecasted for the next years could in turn produce an increase in the gender gap, which in Italy is already massive.

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Correspondence to Demetrio Panarello.

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Fig. A1

Italian man – normal-weight (left) and obese (right). (PNG 51 kb)

Fig. A2

Foreign woman – normal-weight (left) and obese (right). (PNG 50 kb)

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Busetta, G., Campolo, M.G. & Panarello, D. Weight-Based Discrimination in the Italian Labor Market: an Analysis of the Interaction with Gender and Ethnicity. J Econ Inequal 18, 617–637 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10888-020-09456-5

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Keywords

  • Correspondence test
  • Employment discrimination
  • Economics of ethnic minorities
  • Hiring process
  • Body weight
  • Obesity