“Discrimination is one of the underestimated causes of persistent unemployment”

© Lionel Lorquin / UPEM 2018

Yannick L'Horty is a lecturer and researcher in economics at Université Gustave Eiffel. His research focuses on discrimination in the labour market and the evaluation of public policies. Portrait of an economist with a fruitful career. 

The economics that interests me most is one that produces its own data with the aim of shedding light on economic and social phenomena” says Yannick L'Horty, a faculty member at Université Gustave Eiffel. He is the founder and head of the Master’s degree in Data Analysis, and develops his research work within the ERUDITE laboratory. In 2010, he joined the Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée and created the research federation on Theory and Evaluation of Public Policies (TEPP - CNRS). At 55, Yannick L'Horty is the author or co-author of more than 260 works, including a hundred or so articles published in journals referenced by the CNRS. His main research topic is the persistence of unemployment. “I am fascinated by the problem of unemployment. Its persistence is both a social and economic issue as well as a real theoretical enigma: why, for the past 40 years, has it remained at around 10% when the markets are supposed to balance out?Another field of investigation for the economist is discrimination. “I was first interested in the inequality of exposure to unemployment according to socio-professional categories and then, progressively, in discrimination in the labour market. I think this is one of the underestimated causes of the persistence of unemployment in France. If we were to quantify the reasons for unemployment, discrimination would probably be at the top of the list.”  

A common theme: the evaluation of public policies

All my work is related to public policies, especially in terms of evaluating them. Ten years ago, the growing demand for impact assessment of social programmes was the reason for the creation of the TEPP.” Over the years, the research federation has become a recognised body in the evaluation of public policies, now contributing to the actions of the University's Public Policy Support Vice-Presidency. In 2020, Yannick L'Horty and his colleagues at the TEPP delivered 12 reports to the French government in the framework of projects such as DESPERADO1 and DREAM.2 The latest, "Discrimination in the recruitment of people with disabilities: a multi-criteria test", was submitted on 10 November 2020 to the Minister for Transformation and the Civil Service and the Minister for Equality between Women and Men, Diversity and Equal Opportunities. “One thing all our reports have in common is the experiment method used: testing. It consists of sending, in response to the same job offer, two applications that are equivalent in all respects, except for the variable to be tested such as the origin of the name or the address.”  

The health crisis has disrupted all economic mechanisms

Today, with Université Gustave Eiffel, a new part of my career is beginning. It is an exciting time because there are many new interactions and opportunities are being created” says Yannick L'Horty. “In 2020, for example, I responded to four calls for projects with new partners, including the Smart Lab Paris Region.” At the same time, the economist is following the health crisis “with a great deal of concern but also with interest because all the economic mechanisms are being disrupted” and is continuing his work on discrimination. “For example, we have launched the RED3 project, supported by the French National Research Agency (ANR). It aims to measure the effects of the economic recession and the employment crisis in the context of the pandemic on discrimination in employment in the labour market.”  

1 Discrimination in Hiring in the Public Sector: Respective Effects of Address and Origin

2 Discrimination in Corporate Recruitment: A Multi-Channel Approach

3 Recession and Discrimination