The Life Course Experiences of Ethnic Minorities - Reza Hasmath

This project consists of a series of studies which investigates ethnic minorities’ experiences, from education to the labour market, notably in the North American, Australian, and Chinese contexts. The studies analyze the ‘ethnic penalty’ that emerges when looking at the relationship between the educational and occupational levels of ethnic minority members. While intuitively, overt discrimination insofar as one’s physical appearance or linguistic abilities, and first generation migrant status, are often cited as prevailing reasons to explain the ‘ethnic penalty’, the project examines explanatory factors such as an individual’s non-cognitive skills and social network, a firm’s working culture, and, social trust in a community. Further, the project considers the public policy implications of the broader research findings – most recently looking at the ‘People Swap’ policy in Australia; and the rise of ethnic conflict due to various policies in China – and the lessons learned for other multi-ethnic jurisdictions.

The project’s findings have been published in two monographs, A Comparative Study of Minority Development in China and Canada, and The Ethnic Penalty: Immigration, Education and the Labour Market; an edited book, Managing Ethnic Diversity: Meanings and Practices from an International Perspective; journal articles in the Australian Journal of Political Science, Comparative Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies, European Journal of Development Research, and International Labour Review; and, working papers looking at inter-ethnic interactions in Beijing, returns to education in China, and, the rise of ethnic tensions in China. My research on ethnic identity has provided latitude to branch out to think more deeply about gender identity and its performance on social media - a journal article published in Current Sociology is the end result. 

Additional outcomes of this project can be seen in research prizes conferred, including the National Center for Institutional Diversity, University of Michigan’s Established Diversity, and Emerging Diversity Scholar Awards; the Society for the Study of Social Problems’ Poverty, Class and Inequality Division Article Award; and, the EADI Research Prize for Development Studies Award. Further, I have delivered lectures, seminars, policy speeches, and interacted with a variety of international media sources, to raise awareness about the research findings and implications.