Measuring attitudes and feelings towards discrimination in cross-nation research: lessons from the European Social Survey

English title: Measuring attitudes and feelings towards discrimination in cross-nation research: lessons from the European Social Survey

Author(s): Jaak Billiet - Bart Meuleman -

Language: English

Type: Conference paper/poster

Year: 2007

Abstract

Although discrimination towards minority groups is omnipresent in European countries, it can be expected that the degree in which people feel discriminated – and discriminate - varies between countries and between social groups. The European Social Survey (ESS) has given to social researchers an invaluable instrument to investigate these kinds of questions. In this study, the results of the first ESS round were used to measure attitudes towards discrimination. Although strict standards and procedures have been set out by ESS to achieve an as high degree of cross-nation comparability as possible, some methodological difficulties remain. Secondly, the cross-nation measurement of discrimination in general was not one of the ESS-goals, but there were several other items that could be used. Since discrimination is usually related to ethnic or racial prejudice, stereotyping, racial attitudes, cultural minorities and in-group favouritism, it was considered as likely that the ESS would offer some (indirect) measures of discrimination of ethnic minorities or immigrants. Three variables were cross-national compared: 'subjective feeling of belonging to a discriminated group'; the latent variable 'attitude towards equal treatment of foreigners'; and 'support for a law against discrimination in the workplace'. On each of these variables, big differences cross-country are found, with an overall positive connection between attitude towards equal treatment of foreigners and support for a law against discrimination in the workplace. Three explanatory variables (education, age and gender) were cross-country compared. The biggest effect is found in education and age, while gender does not seem to have an effect on the attitude towards equal treatment of foreigners. More research has to be done to reveal the social, political, economical, historic and structural factors that explain these differences.

Conference name: 33rd CEIES Seminar: Ethnic and racial discrimination on the labour market: measurement, statistics and indicators

Location: Malta

Start date: Jun 7, 2007

Type: Paper

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