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Complements or Substitutes? Immigrant and Native Task Specialization in Spain

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  • Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes
  • Sara de la Rica

Abstract

Learning about the impact that immigration has on the labor market of the receiving nation is a topic of major concern, particularly in Spain, where immigration has quadrupled from 4 percent to roughly 10 percent of the population within a decade. Yet, very little is known about the impact that large immigrant inflows have had on the labor market outcomes of Spanish natives. Furthermore, most studies assume that natives and immigrants are perfect substitutes within skill groups –a questionable assumption given recent findings in the literature. In this paper, we first document that foreign-born workers are not perfect substitutes of similarly skilled native Spanish workers, which may help explain why immigration has not significantly lowered natives' wages. Instead, immigration has affected the occupational distribution of natives. Specifically, owing to the comparative advantage of foreign-born workers in manual as opposed to non-manual tasks, natives relocated to occupations with a lower content of manual tasks –such as technical and alike professional occupations, clerical support jobs, and sales and service occupations. Yet, possibly owing to the significant and simultaneous reduction in the manual to non-manual task supply resulting from the increase in the share of native female workers, the increase in the relative supply of manual to non-manual tasks from foreign-born workers does not appear to have significantly changed the overall manual to non-manual task supply in the Spanish economy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by FEDEA in its series Working Papers with number 2008-35.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fda:fdaddt:2008-35

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References

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  1. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Sara de la Rica, 2008. "Does Immigration Raise Natives’ Income? National and Regional Evidence from Spain," Working Papers 2008-17, FEDEA.
  2. David Autor & Frank Levy & Richard Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  3. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2009. "Task Specialization, Immigration and Wages," Working Papers 91, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  4. Furtado, Delia & Hock, Heinrich, 2008. "Immigrant Labor, Child-Care Services, and the Work-Fertility Trade-Off in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 3506, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. David Card & Ethan G. Lewis, 2005. "The Diffusion of Mexican Immigrants During the 1990s: Explanations and Impacts," NBER Working Papers 11552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. George J. Borjas & Lawrence F. Katz, 2007. "The Evolution of the Mexican-Born Workforce in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 13-56 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. David Card, 1990. "The impact of the Mariel boatlift on the Miami labor market," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(2), pages 245-257, January.
  8. David Card, 2005. "Is the New Immigration Really So Bad?," NBER Working Papers 11547, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
  10. Borjas, George J., 1999. "The economic analysis of immigration," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1697-1760 Elsevier.
  11. Ethan Lewis, 2003. "Local, open economies within the U.S.: how do industries respond to immigration?," Working Papers 04-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  12. Giovanni Peri & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2005. "Rethinking the Gains from Immigration: Theory and Evidence from the U.S," Working Papers 58, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  13. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2000. "Do Immigrant Inflows Lead to Native Outflows?," NBER Working Papers 7578, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Albert Saiz, 2003. "Room in the Kitchen for the Melting Pot: Immigration and Rental Prices," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 502-521, August.
  15. Libertad Gonzalez & Francesc Ortega, 2008. "How do Very Open Economies Absorb Large Immigration Flows? Recent Evidence from Spanish Regions," Development Working Papers 248, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  16. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economic Benefits from Immigration," NBER Working Papers 4955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Christian Dustmann & Tommaso Frattini & Ian Preston, 2008. "The Effect of Immigration along the Distribution of Wages," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0803, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  18. George J. Borjas, 2005. "The Labor-Market Impact of High-Skill Immigration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 56-60, May.
  19. David Card, 1997. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," NBER Working Papers 5927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Raquel Carrasco & Juan Jimeno & A. Ortega, 2008. "The effect of immigration on the labor market performance of native-born workers: some evidence for Spain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 627-648, July.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Pablo Swedberg, 2010. "The impact of education and host language skills on the labor market outcomes of immigrants in Spain," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 5, in: María Jesús Mancebón-Torrubia & Domingo P. Ximénez-de-Embún & José María Gómez-Sancho & Greg (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 5, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 41, pages 798-824 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
  2. Farré, Lídia & Gonzalez, Libertad & Ortega, Francesc, 2009. "Immigration, Family Responsibilities and the Labor Supply of Skilled Native Women," IZA Discussion Papers 4265, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Francesca Mazzolari & David Neumark, 2009. "Immigration and Product Diversity," NBER Working Papers 14900, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Libertad González Luna & Francesc Ortega, 2009. "Immigration and housing booms: Evidence from Spain," Economics Working Papers 1167, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  5. Nicodemo, Catia & Nicolini, Rosella, 2012. "Random or Referral Hiring: When Social Connections Matter," IZA Discussion Papers 6312, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. 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.

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