What’s in a name? Measuring access to social activities with a field experiment
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Today’s societies increasingly consist of members who migrated from other countries and regions, and their functioning depends heavily on integrating their diverse members. Interactions with the local population through social activities enhance integration. Despite its relevance, however, previous research has largely overlooked the role of the local population in social integration. This paper introduces an objective method for analyzing access to social activities. Switzerland includes diverse native groups, who differ in culture and language, and a high percentage of foreigners. Applications were sent by email to amateur Swiss football clubs, asking if it is possible to join a training session. The applications differed only in the contact name. Individuals with foreign names, as well as individuals with Swiss names from some other native groups, received significantly fewer responses. The findings are relevant for governing institutions and policy-makers. Researchers who study social integration may find the novel method used here of considerable interest.