Varför diskriminerar offentliga tjänstemän? Om betydelsen av omedvetna diskriminerande attityder

Tidsperiod: 2019-12-01 till 2022-12-31

Projektledare: Per Adman

Finansiär: Vetenskapsrådet

Bidragstyp: Projektbidrag

Budget: 5 116 000 SEK

Why do public officials discriminate? Unequal and biased treatment of ethnic minorities still occurs, even in established democracies. Existing research, mostly undertaken within public administration research is, however, limited and insufficient. Inspired by social psychology insights we suggest a new approach, focusing on unconscious discriminatory attitudes. Our main hypothesis is that discriminatory behaviour is due to such attitudes, in other words not primarily because officials want to discriminate but because they unconsciously do so, especially when certain risk factors within the work environment/organisation are present. The purpose is to investigate this using an innovative design. The project contributes: (1) theoretically, by bringing social psychology insights into public administration research and developing a new general discrimination model with the risk factors included; (2) method-wise, by a unique design – only possible in Scandinavia – that combines data sources never before used together within the  entire field of discrimination research; and (3) empirically, by focusing on 10,000 administrators working in Swedish primary schools, a central public sector with frequent citizen engagement, and how they treat parents with a background in the Middle East. The findings may inspire measures to decrease discrimination against a particularly exposed immigrant group. Two researchers and one assistant will carry out the project during 2020-2023.