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With a little help from abroad: the effect of low-skilled immigration on the female labor supply

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  • Guglielmo Barone

    ()
    (Bank of Italy)

  • Sauro Mocetti

    ()
    (Bank of Italy)

Abstract

In this paper we examine whether and how the inflow of female immigrants who “specialize” in household production affects the labor supply of Italian women. To identify the causal effect, we exploit the family reunification motive and the network effects - i.e. the tendency of newly arriving female immigrants to settle in places where males of the same country already live - as an instrument for the geographical distribution of female foreign workers. We find that the higher the number of immigrants who provide household services the more time native Italian women spend at work (intensive margin) without affecting their labor force participation (extensive margin). The impact is concentrated on the highly skilled women whose time has a higher opportunity cost. These results also hold after a battery of robustness checks. Some further evidence confirms that the impact passes through the substitution in household work rather than complementarities in the production sector. Finally, we show that immigration arises as a substitute to publicly provided welfare services, although this raises concerns about the fairness and the sustainability of this private and informal welfare model.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 766.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_766_10

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Keywords: immigration; female labor supply; household production;

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  1. David Card, 1996. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Working Papers 747, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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Cited by:
  1. Morettini, Gabriele & Presbitero, Andrea F. & Tamberi, Massimo, 2012. "Determinants of international migrations to Italian provinces," MPRA Paper 36316, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Osea Giuntella, 2012. "Do immigrants squeeze natives out of bad schedules? Evidence from Italy," IZA Journal of Migration, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-21, December.
  3. Marchetti, Sabrina & Piazzalunga, Daniela & Venturini, Alessandra, 2013. "Costs and Benefits of Labour Mobility between the EU and the Eastern Partnership Countries Country Study: Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 7635, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Kahanec, Martin & Zimmermann, Klaus F. & Kureková, Lucia Mýtna & Biavaschi, Costanza, 2013. "Report No. 56: Labour Migration from EaP Countries to the EU – Assessment of Costs and Benefits and Proposals for Better Labour Market Matching," IZA Research Reports 56, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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