“Research is a good fit with issues I’m passionate about.”

Lena Nekby is a researcher at the Department of Economics. In her research she has looked for the mechanisms that lie behind discrimination in the job market. She chose the subject because of her own experiences; she lived in the United States, Nigeria and Ethiopia before coming to Sweden in 1987. The research is very interdisciplinary. Alongside sociologists, Lena has designed studies that, among other things, have shown that people with foreign names (Arabic or non-Muslim East African names) have a much harder time getting job interviews than people with Swedish names. The study was done by sending fictitious CVs to employers with advertised positions.

Teaching empirical methods and analysis.

“The students that come to me at an advanced level have decided to study economics. The job market is good and there’s a great demand for researchers who can handle statistical issues. The public sector, banks, insurance companies and unions are some examples”.

In recent times communication between the academic world and society increasingly works two ways. Lena herself goes out to ministries and agencies to present her results, giving her the chance to understand their knowledge-based needs as well. In fact, Arbetsförmedlingen asked her to evaluate the introduction given to newly arrived migrants. The request matched perfectly with Lena’s own research ambitions.

“I want my research to relate directly to policy issues and results that have an impact on society.”