Discrimination on the labour market can, for example, occur by a person being refused employment due to, for example, sex or ethnical background, or that he or she is given a lower wage than comparable colleagues. Swedish law prohibits discrimination also on basis of several other characteristics, such as sexual disposition and age.

Both in legal and scientific contexts, there are different definitions of the term discrimination and when it is considered to occur. In sociology, structural and institutional discrimination are important terms for describing phenomena at the group and societal level. Economic models to a larger extent take the individual as the starting point. Two basic types are preference-based and statistical discrimination. An example of the first is if an employer does not want to employ individuals with a certain characteristic. In the second case, discrimination can be described as rational action on basis of limited information, for example if the employer knows that a group of applicants are more often wanting in a certain respect but cannot determine this in the individual case and thus discards everyone in that group.

Our empirical research concerns both how extensive discrimination is against different groups in different contexts and why discrimination occurs and what are the effects of different kinds of measures against discrimination.


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