Discrimination and favouritism among workers: Union membership and ethnic identity

This paper analyses how labour institutions and ethnic identity shape favouritism and discrimination among workers. We conduct an experiment with union and non-union South African mineworkers from various ethnicities. We examine in-group and out-group behaviour, emphasizing the relative ranking of these groups and their interaction. We find that unions create both in-group and out-group favouritism towards co-ethnic members and members of ethnic majorities. This favouritism is however undermined by unionised subcontract workers who experience precarious conditions. Furthermore, union members discriminate against non-unionised ethnic minorities. Finally, non-union members (primarily subcontract workers) discriminate against union members, particularly after negative shocks.

Publication infos:
Geneva, Centre for International Environmental Studies, The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, 2017
Publication year:
Number of pages:
63 p. : ill.
CIES Research Paper ; 57

 Record created 2018-03-19, last modified 2019-03-25

Download fulltext

Rate this document:

Rate this document:
(Not yet reviewed)