Labor market competition, perceived threat, and endorsement of economic discrimination against foreign workers in Israel

Moshe Semyonov*, Rebeca Raijman, Anat Yom-Tov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The research examines the impact of labor market competition and fear of economic competition on support for economic discrimination against outgroup populations. The data, obtained from a national representative sample of 1,100 Israeli citizens, focus on attitudes toward foreign workers in Israel. The findings revealed by the analysis lead to the following conclusions. First, a considerable number of Israelis view foreign workers as posing a threat to their economic interests (i.e., wage level employment opportunities). Second, endorsement of economic discrimination against foreign workers is substantial. The analysis lends firm support to socio-psychological explanations of discrimination, suggesting that fear of economic competition (i.e., perceived threat) is more pronounced among the disadvantaged, subordinate, and vulnerable populations; and that support of economic discrimination against foreign workers is affected first and foremost by perceived threat. Further analysis provides considerable support for the split labor market model. It reveals that most of the effect of socioeconomic and employment status on the endorsement of discrimination is mediated via perceived threat of economic competition. The effect of ethnicity on endorsement of discrimination, however, is not consistent with the split labor market model. Other things being equal Jews - the superordinate ethnic group in Israel - express higher support of economic discrimination than Arabs - the subordinate ethnic group. These findings are understood and discussed within the context of Israel as an ethno-national state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-431
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Problems
Volume49
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2002

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