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What works for whom? What theories may predict about the effectiveness of measures against employment discrimination

Áron Hajnal (Institute of Social and Political Sciences, Corvinus University of Budapest, Budapest, Hungary) (Budapest Institute for Policy Analysis, Budapest, Hungary)
Ágota Scharle (Budapest Institute for Policy Analysis, Budapest, Hungary)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 20 March 2023

Issue publication date: 25 October 2023

235

Abstract

Purpose

Employment discrimination persists across global labour markets inflicting considerable social and economic costs. The existing literature tends to focus on explaining and measuring discrimination or on the measures to tackle it, overlooking the links between these areas. The paper contributes to filling this gap in order to inform policy design and empirical research on the impact of anti-discrimination policies.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper assesses the potential effectiveness of commonly used policy measures in tackling the types of discrimination described in the theoretical literature. The assessment is based on the underlying incentive structure of particular policies, which is matched with the behaviour of employers predicted by particular theories.

Findings

The potential effectiveness of commonly used anti-discrimination policies varies greatly depending on the source of discrimination and the target group. Some commonly used tools, such as wage subsidies are likely to have modest effects for several target groups, while employer counselling may be a more effective and cheaper alternative in many cases. Quotas may be effective against various types of discrimination, but setting them is challenging and they may yield adverse effects.

Practical implications

The findings call for more research on and consideration of the motives behind employment discrimination in the targeting and design of anti-discrimination measures.

Originality/value

The authors propose a framework to link discrimination types with measures against discrimination and potential target groups, which allows for systematically linking the literature on theories of discrimination and research on anti-discrimination.

Keywords

Citation

Hajnal, Á. and Scharle, Á. (2023), "What works for whom? What theories may predict about the effectiveness of measures against employment discrimination", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 43 No. 11/12, pp. 1098-1113. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-12-2022-0318

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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