Foreign accents and immigrants’ labor market integration


This research aims at assessing the influence of foreign accents on the early hiring process among  immigrants in Germany. Previous research in various disciplines has shown that foreign accents influence interpersonal evaluations as well as hiring decisions. We are particularly interested in the question how a non-standard accent affects the opportunities of being recruited. Using experimental and non-experimental methods, we address different research questions. First, we examine whether the presence of a foreign accent alters responses of employers and to what extent this is the case. We also investigate whether the influence of a foreign accent is conditional on the presence of other ‘ethnic’ cues, such as a foreign name, or on job characteristics, for example, the communication demands or skill level of the job in question. In addition, we consider the causes for accent-based interview outcomes. Building upon economic and social psychological theories we analyze whether foreign accents affect employers’ perceptions and evaluations in terms of productivity or if they represent a potential source of bias, leading to discrimination.