PAINT: Multilevel Pathways for Integrating Marginalized Groups

Navn på bevillingshaver

Vera Rocha


Copenhagen Business School


DKK 3,959,224




Semper Ardens: Accelerate


Despite the vast research on exclusion and inequality, we still lack effective solutions to integrate marginalized groups into the labor market and broader society. The PAINT project centers on two understudied groups whose socioeconomic exclusion has major economic and social costs: ex-felons and refugees. It aims to identify levers for their integration by studying three main questions. First, when can entrepreneurship-the act of founding or joining a startup firm-be a vehicle of socioeconomic mobility for individuals with criminal records? Second, which characteristics of host communities facilitate refugee resettlement? Third, which firms hire ex-felons and refugees, how do firms perform when they do so, and which interventions may encourage employers to recruit these groups?


Inequality is one of the grand challenges that hinder the achievement of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Firms can propagate inequality via hiring practices that exclude individuals due to stigma, discrimination, or uncertainties about their ability and fit. Communities can also play a role in shaping inequality and exclusion depending on their socioeconomic fabric. The PAINT project will study the barriers faced by ex-felons and refugees and investigate multiple pathways for their socioeconomic integration. It proposes and tests solutions directed at individuals, firms, as well as communities. In so doing, it will advance prior research and derive valuable implications for theory, practice, and policy.


The project will leverage the rich Danish registers maintained by Statistics Denmark, advanced econometric methods, and several exogenous shocks (e.g., regulatory changes) that can improve the identification of the effects of interest. In addition, the team plans to conduct surveys and an experimental vignette study with managers to understand the most pressing concerns preventing the employment of ex-felons and refugees as well as the effects of potential interventions encouraging their recruitment. The project includes collaboration with and research stays at UCLA and London Business School, which will provide unique internationalization and networking opportunities to the team.

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