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Firm Evidence on Ethnic Stratification: Work Organizations, Employment Segregation, and Immigrant Economic Assimilation (FirmStrat)

The distinguishing feature of the FirmStrat project is the organizational approach to the study of ethnic stratification in the labor market and the dynamics of economic assimilation across immigrant generations. We will focus on immigrant-native segregation across workplaces and organizational variation in immigrant-native inequalities at work.


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What determines workplace segregation and inequality within organizations among immigrants and natives? Photo:

About the project

The distinguishing feature of this project is the organizational approach to the study of ethnic stratification in the labor market. Despite a vast literature on labor market inequalities between immigrants and natives, relatively few prior studies use data where employees are linked directly to their employers to study these issues. Thus, robust evidence about the role of firms and workplace contexts in the processes of immigrant assimilation is still limited. Yet, workplaces arguably constitute key local settings where economic rewards are allocated, social status is negotiated, and a substantial share of social interaction between adults unfolds.

The project will study ethnic workplace segregation and workplace inequalities in pay and career opportunities between the ethnic majority and immigrant-origin workers. Using high-quality LEE data and state-of-the-art panel data techniques, the project will, for example, be able to pinpoint workplace contexts where immigrant-native pay inequalities, net of individual human capital differences, typically are large and those where they are small or even reversed.

Are immigrant-native wage inequalities reduced in more bureaucratised workplaces where wage formation is more formalized? Are immigrant-native wage inequalities aggravated in workplaces where performance pay and bonuses are used? How does firm-level adoption of (skill-biased) technological innovations affect immigrant-origin employees at different skill levels? From a policy perspective, a better grasp of the proximate organizational mechanisms behind ethnic workplace inequalities will enable more targeted interventions and improved enforcement of equal opportunity laws.


The project is financed by the Norwegian Research Council under Unge forskertalenter. The total grant award was for NOK 8 000 000. 


  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • University of Mannheim
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Stockholm University
  • Copenhagen Business School
  • Bielefeld University
  • Sciences Po
  • University of Groningen
  • Statistics Canada
  • University of California, Irvine

Project period

August 2019 - February 2023



  • Are Skeie Hermansen; Donald Tomaskovic-Devey; Anthony Rainey; Dustin Avent-Holt; Nina Bandelj; Istvan Boza; David Cort; Olivier Godechot; Gergely Hajdu; Martin Hällsten; Lasse Folke Henriksen; Feng Hou; Jiwook Jung; Aleksandra Kanjuo-Mrcela; Joe King; Naomi Kodama; Tali Kristal; Alena Krizkova; Zoltan Lippenyi; Silvia Maja Melzer; Eunmi Mun; Andrew Penner; Trond Petersen; Andreja Poje; Mirna Safi; Max Thaning & Zaibu Tufail (2020). Rising between-workplace inequalities in high-income countries. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.  ISSN 0027-8424.

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  • Ida Drange; Håvard Helland & Are Skeie Hermansen (2020). Occupational licensing, unionization, and workplace variation in pay inequalities between immigrants and natives.
  • Are Skeie Hermansen (2020). Hva hjelper det å klappe for de lavtlønte?.
  • Are Skeie Hermansen (2020). Lønnsforskjeller mellom bedrifter forklarer økt ulikhet i Norge.  ISSN 1891-635X.
  • Are Skeie Hermansen (2019). Sosial mobilitet og inkludering i arbeidslivet blant innvandrere og etterkommere.

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Published Oct. 19, 2020 2:21 PM - Last modified Oct. 20, 2020 9:46 AM