Explaining ethnic differencescan eExplaining Ethnic Differences: Can Ethnic Minority Strategies Reduce the Effects of Ethnic Penalties?

Tariq Modood, Nabil Khattab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Some social scientists are sceptical of the explanatory power of ethnicity and seek to explain ethnic differences by references to non-ethnic factors such as discrimination. We challenge this scepticism by considering two theoretical objections: there is no such thing as ethnicity and ethnic categories are unable to explain social processes; and by showing how ethnic strategies affect outcomes that cannot be captured in standard ethnic penalty analyses, we offer a new way to examine ethnic penalties in unemployment. We calculate a set of net ethnic penalties and then analyse longitudinal labour-force data to examine how strategies such as self-employment change ethnic penalties in unemployment amongst six different ethnic groups in Britain. The results show that self-employment reduces the ethnic penalty for Indians, Pakistanis-Bangladeshis and others, but not for Blacks, White-Others and White-British. This supports the argument that ethnicity can provide an explanation for some of the ethnic differentials in the labour market.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-246
Number of pages16
JournalSociology
Volume50
Issue number2
Early online date12 May 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

Structured keywords

  • SPAIS Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship

Keywords

  • ethnic differences
  • ethnic penalties
  • ethnic strategies
  • self-employment
  • South Asians UK
  • unemployment

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