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How Different are Wages from Wage Potentials? - Analyzing the earnings disadvantage of immigrants in Germany

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Abstract

Immigrants in Germany display a poor earnings performance relative to natives. Arguing that human capital endowments identify earnings potentials rather than actual earnings, this paper estimates a stochastic earnings frontier and searches for systematic differences between natives and migrants in terms of distance to the frontier. GSOEP-Data of the year 2000 is used for estimation. The empirical results clearly support the frontier assumption, but – surprisingly – find natives and immigrants at about the same distance to the frontier. Assuming a half-normal distribution of the wage-inefficiency term, both groups trans­formed on average a modest 81% share of their potential income into market earnings. Due to the similar positions of natives and immigrants relative to the frontier, the wage discrimination hypothesis is rejected. Actually, human capital differentials are clearly the most important source for wage inequality. The earnings frontiers of immigrants from Eastern Europe as well as from Turkey are steeper than the respective frontier of natives, which supports the assimilation hypothesis. No assimilation is found for migrants from the European Union and from the former Yugoslavia.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universitaet Augsburg, Institute for Economics in its series Discussion Paper Series with number 256.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: Jan 2004
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Handle: RePEc:aug:augsbe:0256

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Keywords: Stochastic Wage Frontier; Inefficiency; Immigration; Assimilation; Discrimination; Human Capital Approach;

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  1. Bauer, Thomas & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 1996. "Unemployment and Wages of Ethnic Germans," CEPR Discussion Papers 1512, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Polachek, Solomon W & Yoon, Bong Joon, 1996. "Panel Estimates of a Two-Tiered Earnings Frontier," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(2), pages 169-78, March-Apr.
  3. Hofler, Richard A. & Polachek, Solomon W., 1985. "A new approach for measuring wage ignorance in the labor market," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 267-276, August.
  4. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
  5. Fried, Harold O. & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Shelton S. (ed.), 1993. "The Measurement of Productive Efficiency: Techniques and Applications," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072181.
  6. Polachek, Solomon W. & Robst, John, 1998. "Employee labor market information: comparing direct world of work measures of workers' knowledge to stochastic frontier estimates," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 231-242, June.
  7. Battese, G E & Coelli, T J, 1995. "A Model for Technical Inefficiency Effects in a Stochastic Frontier Production Function for Panel Data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 325-32.
  8. Jondrow, James & Knox Lovell, C. A. & Materov, Ivan S. & Schmidt, Peter, 1982. "On the estimation of technical inefficiency in the stochastic frontier production function model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2-3), pages 233-238, August.
  9. Aigner, Dennis & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Peter, 1977. "Formulation and estimation of stochastic frontier production function models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 21-37, July.
  10. Borjas, George J, 1985. "Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 463-89, October.
  11. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
  12. Daneshvary, Nasser, et al, 1992. "Job Search and Immigrant Assimilation: An Earnings Frontier Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(3), pages 482-92, August.
  13. Schmidt, Christoph M., 1997. "Immigrant performance in Germany: Labor earnings of ethnic German migrants and foreign guest-workers," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(Supplemen), pages 379-397.
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Cited by:
  1. Polachek, Solomon & Xiang, Jun, 2005. "The Effects of Incomplete Employee Wage Information: A Cross-Country Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 1735, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Sharif, Najma R. & Dar, Atul A., 2007. "An Empirical Investigation of the Impact of Imperfect Information on Wages in Canada," Review of Applied Economics, Review of Applied Economics, vol. 3(1-2).

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