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Ethnic parity in labour market outcomes for benefit claimants

IFS Working Paper W09/04

We use UK administrative data to estimate the differential in labour market outcomes between Ethnic Minority benefit claimants and otherwise identical Whites. In many cases, Minorities and Whites are simply too different for satisfactory estimates to be calculated and results are sensitive to the methodology used. This calls into question previous results based on simple regression techniques, which may hide the fact that observationally different ethnic groups are being compared by parametric extrapolation. For some groups, however, we could calculate satisfactory results. In these cases, large and significant raw penalties almost always disappear once we appropriately control for pre-inflow characteristics.