Labour-market discrimination is both unjust and inefficient. It hurts people, it generates social inequality and it hampers economic growth. Understanding the magnitude and mechanisms of discrimination is crucially important for the future of increasingly diverse European societies. Yet the study of discrimination poses very fundamental methodological challenges. Standard statistical approaches based on observational data have provided key evidence on racial, ethnic, and gender gaps in employment, occupational attainment and pay. Such gaps can only partly be explained by the demographic and human capital variables typically available in survey and census data. Yet because gaps may be due to unobserved variables other than discrimination, survey-based studies cannot provide direct evidence of discriminatory behaviour.
Directed by Javier Polavieja, the D-Lab at UC3M is aimed at advancing the scientific study of discrimination by promoting rigorous empirical research and cutting-edge methodological innovations. The lab provides a unique infrastructure to carry out field-experimental research on labour-market discrimination in Spain. Funded by competitive grants, the lab currently runs two large projects on ethnic discrimination: the the GEMM project and the NewAir project, financed respectively by the EU and the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.
The D-lab team currently includes two post-doctoral researchers, one software engineer, one doctoral student, four research assistants and the IP.
Launched in 2018, the D-lab is expected to soon become a European centre of reference in the study of discrimination.