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

Illustration of segregation of chess pieces

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

About the project

The FIRMSTRAT project promotes an 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 is for NOK 9 453 000.


  • 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 - June 2023



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  • Drange, Ida; Helland, Håvard & Hermansen, Are Skeie (2020). Occupational licensing, unionization, and workplace variation in pay inequalities between immigrants and natives.
  • Hermansen, Are Skeie (2020). Lønnsforskjeller mellom bedrifter forklarer økt ulikhet i Norge. ISSN 1891-635X.
  • Hermansen, Are Skeie (2020). Hva hjelper det å klappe for de lavtlønte? Morgenbladet. ISSN 0805-3847.
  • Hermansen, Are Skeie (2019). Sosial mobilitet og inkludering i arbeidslivet blant innvandrere og etterkommere .

View all works in Cristin

Published Oct. 19, 2020 2:21 PM - Last modified Jan. 26, 2022 2:58 PM