September 2017

IZA DP No. 11056: Employment Discrimination in a Former Soviet Union Republic: Evidence from a Field Experiment

Muhammad Asali, Norberto Pignatti, Sophiko Skhirtladze

revised version forthcoming in: Journal of Comparative Economics

We provide the first experimental evidence about ethnic discrimination in the labor market in Georgia. We randomly assign Georgian and non-Georgian, male and female, names to similar resumes and apply for jobs as advertised in help-wanted web sites in Georgia. We find that gender has no effect on the probability of callback, but a job applicant who is ethnic Georgian is twice more likely to be called for a job interview than an equally skilled ethnic non-Georgian (Azeri or Armenian). The almost 100% gap in callbacks is statistically significant and cannot be abridged by having more experience or education. Both taste-based discrimination and statistical discrimination models are consistent with the evidence provided in this study. Labor market discrimination tends to aggravate in economic busts.