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(Under-)Representation in the Public Administration: Changing Opportunities for Migrants in Germany?

Integration
Migration
Public Administration
Representation
Qualitative
Andreas Ette
University of Bielefeld
Andreas Ette
University of Bielefeld
Martin Weinmann
Bundesinstitut für Bevölkerungsforschung (BiB)
Sophie Straub
Federal Institute for Population Research

Abstract

The socio-demographic composition of the staff of public administrations has far-reaching consequences for the legitimacy and effectiveness of the political system. The theory of representative bureaucracy assumes that an appropriate representation of all social groups improves the results of public authorities' actions and thus enables the administration to better represent the diverse interests of society. Moreover, it increases the population's identification with the state and the acceptance of administrative action (Ding, Lu & Riccucci; 2021; Meier, 2019). Even though empirical investigations into ethnic and cultural representative bureaucracies in Germany are scarce, initial empirical studies show that there are significant representation gaps for migrants in Germany (Lang 2020; Ette et al. 2021). After many years of administrative retrenchment, the more recent expansion of public personnel together with the increasing retirement of older generations with the resulting “room at the top” (Alba/Barbosa 2016) may have potential effects for processes of ethnic mobility in Germany’s public administration. Against this background, the paper provides results on the representation of migrants in the public administration in Germany by examining both a description of the extent of (under-)representation of migrants and an examination of changes in (under-)representation over time. The empirical analyses concentrate in a first step on the structure of descriptive representation for migrants. In a second step, the paper assesses differences in accessing Germany’s civil service for migrants between 2005 and 2019. Thereby, the paper analyses the changing probabilities for access to the public administration by taking into account for the different human capital endowments within Germany’s population. This is important with regard to the integration of migrants since empirical findings show that even the second generation still has poorer opportunities in the German labor market (Kalter/Granato 2018). The paper uses the German Microcensus, an annual official household survey, with a one percent sample (about 800,000 persons) of the German population. It provides differentiated information on the employment situation of the population by economic sector. Since 2005, the Microcensus has also contained differentiated information on the so-called migration background, which makes it possible to take a (comparative) look at different migrant groups. Due to the lack of regular survey data on employees in Germany’s public administration the use of the Microcensus thus makes it possible to analyse the changing probabilities for employment of migrants in Germany’s public administration.