General Conference of the European Survey Research Association location:Warsaw (Poland) date:29 June-3 July 2009
Discrimination has been advanced as a plausible explanation of persistent ethnic minority disadvantage in the second generation. Yet, survey studies of second-generation attainment have not usually measured experienced discrimination. The TIES surveys cover second-generation minority samples and majority comparison samples in the same ethnically diverse and relatively disadvantaged urban areas (TIES 2007–08, CeSO/CSCP). Using structural equation modelling (SEM), this study compares personal experiences of discrimination across minority and majority samples in the TIES surveys, defining discrimination as ’unfair or hostile treatment because of one’s origin or background’. The valid comparative measurement of discrimination in survey research is not without its challenges. One of the concerns is the internal validity of discrimination measures, in light of the known effects of question wording in surveys and the multidimensional nature of real-life experiences of discrimination. Compared to existing surveys, the TIES surveys include more extensive questions that provide multiple measures of discriminatory experiences across key institutional settings and domains of social life. Moreover, the TIES surveys use standardised measures of discrimination across different groups in the same cities. Hence, the survey allows us to address key issues of equivalence in the comparative measurement of discrimination. Taking a perspective from intergroup relations, we expected that both minority and majority groups may experience discrimination in intergroup encounters. Minority and majority discrimination experiences differ, however, not only in level but also in meaning. To examine these differences, we analysed the experiences of discrimination in three groups: the Turkish and Moroccan second generations and the native inhabitants of ethnically diverse urban areas in Belgium. Using multi-group measurement models with latent means in SEM, we indeed found that levels of experienced discrimination varied considerably with group positions in the ’ethnic hierarchy’. We tested and confirmed a multidimensional model of experienced discrimination, distinguishing between the socio-economic and the social domain, with the latter referring mainly to negative intergroup contact in public spaces. This multidimensional model differed significantly between the two minority groups on the one hand and the majority group on the other, confirming the expectation that the meanings of discrimination experiences differ between minority and majority group positions. In a last step, we used (multi-group) MIMIC models to test the external validity in minority and majority groups, relating discrimination experiences to objective and perceived disadvantage, intergroup relations, and gender as predictors.