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Disentangling language from ethnic preferences in the recruitment of domestic workers: A discrete choice experiment

Tobias Theys, Stef Adriaenssens (), Dieter Verhaest (), Nick Deschacht and Sandra Rousseau ()

Journal of Business Research, 2020, vol. 117, issue C, 144-151

Abstract: The literature on service encounters rarely disentangles linguistic preferences from their association with customers' ethnic preferences, and rarely studies the selection of the service provider. We analyse the choice of domestic workers in the Brussels urban region, a region characterized by a high degree of ethnic and linguistic heterogeneity. A discrete choice experiment disentangles the linguistic from the ethnic preferences of households with respect to the recruitment of domestic workers before the encounter takes place. Our results show that households attach substantial value to linguistic convergence: they strongly prefer a housekeeper that speaks their home language, while alternative common languages are still preferred over no communication at all. Furthermore, after taking into account linguistic preferences, households still exhibit discriminatory tastes, with clear-cut ethnic preferences. The particular strength of the linguistic preferences is most likely due to the fact that domestic service encounters are recurrent and occur in the personal sphere.

Keywords: Service; Language; Ethnicity; Choice experiment; Domestic workers; Discrimination (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2020.05.006

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