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Labor-market exposure as a determinant of attitudes toward immigration

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  • Ortega, Francesc
  • Polavieja, Javier G.

Abstract

This paper re-examines the role of labor-market competition as a determinant of attitudes toward immigration. We claim two main contributions. First, we use more sophisticated measures of the degree of exposure to competition from immigrants than previously done. In addition to education, we focus on the protection derived from (self-assessed) investments in job-specific human capital and from specialization in occupations that are (objectively) intensive in communication tasks. Second, we explicitly account for the potential endogeneity arising from job search. Methodologically, we estimate by instrumental variables, an econometric model that allows for heterogeneity at the individual, regional and country level. Drawing on the 2004–2005 European Social Survey, we obtain the following main results. First, natives that dislike immigrants tend to work in low-immigration jobs, biasing OLS estimates. Second, working in jobs that require high levels of specific human capital leads to relatively more pro-immigration attitudes, although this effect is only found for respondents with more than 12years of schooling. Third, the degree of manual (communicational) intensity of workers' occupations has a negative (positive) effect on their pro-immigration views. This effect is the most significant, both in a statistical and in a quantitative sense, and is distinct from the protection from immigrant competition provided by formal education. Overall our results suggest a large role for skill-based labor market competition in determining individual attitudes toward immigration.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 19 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 298-311

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:19:y:2012:i:3:p:298-311

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

Related research

Keywords: Immigration attitudes; Labor market; Job-specific human capital; Communication skills; International migration;

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References

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  1. Christian Dustmann & Ian Preston, 2000. "Racial and Economic Factors in Attitudes to Immigration," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0839, Econometric Society.
  2. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2009. "Task Specialization, Immigration, and Wages," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 135-69, July.
  3. González, Libertad & Ortega, Francesc, 2011. "How do very open economies adjust to large immigration flows? Evidence from Spanish regions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 57-70, January.
  4. Ortega, Francesc, 2009. "Immigration, Citizenship, and the Size of Government," IZA Discussion Papers 4528, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Richard Sinnott, 2004. "The Determinants of Individual Attitudes Towards Immigration," Trinity Economics Papers 20042, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  6. Lídia Farré & Libertad González Luna & Francesc Ortega, 2009. "Immigration, family responsibilities and the labor supply of skilled native women," Economics Working Papers 1161, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  7. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2006. "The Polarization of the U.S. Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 11986, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Hainmueller, Jens & Hiscox, Michael J., 2007. "Educated Preferences: Explaining Attitudes Toward Immigration in Europe," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(02), pages 399-442, April.
  9. Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2006. "Technical Change, Job Tasks, and Rising Educational Demands: Looking outside the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 235-270, April.
  10. Giovanni Facchini & Anna Maria Mayda, 2007. "Does the Welfare State Affect Individual Attitudes towards Immigrants? Evidence Across Countries," Development Working Papers 233, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  11. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  12. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2002. "Upstairs, downstairs: Computers and skills on two floors of a large bank," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(3), pages 432-447, April.
  13. Edward P. Lazear & Paul Oyer, 2007. "Personnel Economics," NBER Working Papers 13480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Mayda, Anna Maria, 2004. "Who Is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 1115, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & de la Rica, Sara, 2009. "Complements or Substitutes? Task Specialization by Gender and Nativity in Spain," IZA Discussion Papers 4348, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Peri, Giovanni & D'Amuri, Francesco, 2010. "Immigration, Jobs and Employment Protection: Evidence from Europe," Institute of European Studies, Working Paper Series qt9rp2j8m1, Institute of European Studies, UC Berkeley.
  17. Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2001. "Labor Market Competition And Individual Preferences Over Immigration Policy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 133-145, February.
  18. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning & Anna Salomons, 2009. "Job Polarization in Europe," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 58-63, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & de la Rica, Sara, 2011. "Complements or substitutes? Task specialization by gender and nativity in Spain," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 697-707, October.
  2. Otto, Alkis Henri & Steinhardt, Max Friedrich, 2012. "Immigration and election outcomes: Evidence from city districts in Hamburg," HWWI Research Papers 122, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
  3. Ortega, Francesc & Peri, Giovanni, 2012. "The Role of Income and Immigration Policies in Attracting International Migrants," IZA Discussion Papers 6655, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. González, Libertad & Ortega, Francesc, 2011. "How do very open economies adjust to large immigration flows? Evidence from Spanish regions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 57-70, January.
  5. Verena Dill, 2013. "Ethnic Concentration and Extreme Right-Wing Voting Behavior in West Germany," Research Papers in Economics 2013-02, University of Trier, Department of Economics.
  6. Francesc Ortega & Giovanni Peri, 2012. "The Effect of Income and Immigration Policies on International Migration," NBER Working Papers 18322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Verena Dill, 2013. "Ethnic Concentration and Extreme Right-Wing Voting Behavior in West Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 565, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

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