We study the role of labor market institutions and policies in affecting the wage impact of immigration using a cross-country meta-analysis approach. We gather information on 1,548 previouslyreported semi-elasticities from 66 academic studies covering 20 developed countries. We supplement this dataset with country-level institutional structure and coverage data from the OECD. These include employment and wage rigidities, labor mobility, active labor market programs spending, andproduct market regulation. We relate estimated wage effects and institutional coverage while controlling for local economic conditions, immigrant skill composition, time and region fixed effectsand study characteristics. Higher labor market rigidity, as brought about by more widespread insti-tutions, regulations and policies, mitigates the effects on relative wages of high- versus low-skillednatives but exacerbates the impacts on average earnings. Overall, our results suggest that labor market institutions and policies may be effective tools in the economic absorption of foreign workers.
A unitarian model of family migration in which families may discount wives’ private gains is used to derive testable predictions regarding the type of couples that select into migrating. The empirical tests show that gender neutral family migration cannot be rejected against the alternative of husband centered migration. Couples are more likely to migrate if household earnings potential is disproportionally due to one partner, and families react equally strongly to a male and a female relative advantage in educational earnings potential. These results are driven by households with a strong relative advantage to one of the partners while results are less clear for small dissimilarities within the couple, suggesting that gender identity norms may play a role when the opportunity costs of adhering to them are small.
Using longitudinal data on the universe of workers in Denmark during the period 1991–2008, we track the labor market outcomes of low-skilled natives in response to an exogenous inflow of low-skilled immigrants. We innovate on previous identification strategies by con-sidering immigrants distributed across municipalities by a refugee dispersal policy in place between 1986 and 1998. We find that an increase in the supply of refugee-country immigrants pushed less educated native workers (especially the young and low-tenured ones) to pursue less manual-intensive occupations. As a result immi-gration had positive effects on native unskilled wages, employment, and occupational mobility.
We evaluate the effect on newly arrived refugees’ employment of a new policy, introduced in Denmark in 2013, that matched refugees to occupations with local labor shortages after basic training for those jobs. Leveraging the staggered roll-out across municipalities, we find that the policy increased employment by 5.4-5.8 percentage points one year after arrival and 8.6 percentage points two years after. The policy was especially effective for male refugees with some secondary edu- cation. The findings suggest that this type of policy could alleviate long-term labor shortages and integrate low-skilled immigrants, while having minimal competition effects on natives.
We evaluate a Danish reform focused on improving Danish language training for those granted refugee status on or after January 1, 1999. Using a Regression Discontinuity Design we find a significant, permanent, positive effect on earnings. This effect emerged after completion of language classes and was accompanied by additional schooling and higher probability of working in communication-intensive jobs, suggesting that language training, rather than other minor aspects of the reform, produced it. We also find evidence of higher completion rates of lower secondary school and lower probability of crime for male children with both parents exposed to the reform.
This paper investigates the economic incentives for international migration from a high wagecountry by estimating the wage and employment effects abroad as well as after return migration.Positive wage effects are found for men. Women, on the contrary, do not gain from internationalmigration on average. This seems to be a tied mover effect. Men migrate for job-related reasons, themajority due to a job-transfer, while most women report that they are accompanying their partnerabroad. Consistent with this, male migrants work more and female migrants work less abroad thantheir peers in the home country and this is also reflected in their earnings. For all migrants, I findstrong negative employment and earnings effects immediately after return migration. In terms ofearnings, men recover fast and are rewarded for their international experience but women experiencelong-lasting negative labor market effects. The results are estimated using full population registerdata and survey data on Danish return migrants.
Using travel time by public transport to language training centers as an instrument for host-country language acquisition by refugees, we show that language instruction has a strong positive effect on proffciency in the host-country language and enrollment in formal education in the host country. As refugees are dispersed across municipalities and allocated to public housing in the municipalities based on availability at the date of arrival, travel time is uncorrelated with refugees characteristics at arrival. Moreover, we also exploit variation in travel time that results from the opening and closure of language training centers. We find positive effects on employment and annual earnings but our IV results are not significant. The increase in earnings comes mainly from the extensive margin as we find no evidence of a positive effect on hours of work per week or hourly wage. The findings suggest that language instructions increase language proficiency and stimulate immigrants invest in human capital which likely delays and increases any positive labor market return to early language learning investments. Interestingly, we find similar effects for men and women.