Are Immigrants Being Discriminated when Choosing Schools for their Children? A Field Experiment of Communication between Public Officials and Ordinary Citizens

Time period: 2016-09-01 to 2017-10-31

Funder: Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy (IFAU)

Type of award: Project grant

Total fundning: 955 000 SEK

The aim with this project is to investigate the occurrence of discrimination among public officials working at Swedish municipalities. More precisely, focus is on parents choosing primary schools for their children. With a correspondence test design it will be studied whether parents with Arabic-sounding names receive information of the same quality as parents with Swedish-sounding names – i.e. in the emails replies they get from the schools – when it comes to questions these fictitious aliases ask about how the process works when choosing schools (“skolvalet”). The project focuses on an immigrant group found to be at the bottom of ethnical hierarchies. Hence it is critical to learn more about the societal conditions individuals belonging to this group face. Because of lack of experimental designs we do not yet know the extent of discrimination these people are exposed to. To the knowledge of the project, the proposed study would be the first field experiment on public officials in Scandinavia. The proposed study should also be of substantial societal value since integration is heavily debated and not yet fully achieved in Sweden. Moreover, many more refugees from this part of the world are expected in the near future.