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Integration of Immigrants in OECD Countries: Do Policies Matter?


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  • Orsetta Causa
  • Sébastien Jean


This working paper assesses the ease of immigrants' integration in OECD labour markets by estimating how an immigration background influences the probability of being active or employed and the expected hourly earnings, for given individual characteristics. Applying the same methodology to comparable data across twelve OECD countries, immigrants are shown to significantly lag behind natives in terms of employment and/or wages. The differences narrow as years since settlement elapse, especially as regards wages, reflecting progressive assimilation. Strong differences in immigrant-to-native gaps are also observed across countries, and the paper shows that they may, to a significant extent, be explained by differences in labour market policies, in particular unemployment benefits, the tax wedge and the minimum wage. In addition, immigrants are shown to be overrepresented among outsiders in the labour market and, as such, highly sensitive to the difference in employment protection legislation between temporary and permanent contracts. L'intégration des immigrés dans les pays de l'OCDE : Les politiques sur le marché du travail comptent-elles ? Ce document de travail évalue la qualité de l’intégration des immigrés sur les marchés du travail des pays de l’OCDE en estimant de quelle façon le statut d’immigré influe sur la probabilité d’être actif ou employé et sur l’espérance de salaire, pour des caractéristiques individuelles données. En appliquant la même méthodologie à des données comparables pour douze pays de l’OCDE, les salaires et de probabilité d’emploi des immigrés s’avèrent significativement en deçà de ceux des autochtones partageant les mêmes caractéristiques. Ces différences s’amenuisent au fur et à mesure des années écoulées depuis l’installation, en particulier concernant les salaires, reflétant un processus d’assimilation progressive. De fortes différences entre immigrés et autochtones sont également observées entre pays et ce travail montre qu’elles peuvent dans une large mesure être expliquées par les différences de politiques sur le marché du travail, en particulier en termes d’allocations chômage, de coin fiscal et de salaire minimum. Les immigrés sont en outre surreprésentés parmi les outsiders sur le marché du travail et sont de ce fait plus sensibles aux différences de législation de protection de l’emploi entre contrats temporaires et permanents.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 564.

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Date of creation: 04 Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:564-en

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Keywords: employment; immigration; integration; labour market policies; wages; emploi; politique du marché du travail; intégration; salaires; immigration;

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Cited by:
  1. Åsa Rosén & Steinar Holden, 2009. "Discrimination and Employment Protection," 2009 Meeting Papers 350, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Jesús Ruiz-Huerta & Rosa Martínez, 2014. "Multidimensional poverty in immigrant households: a comparative analysis within the Europe 2020 framework," CIRANO Working Papers 2014s-18, CIRANO.
  3. Orrenius, Pia M. & Zavodny, Madeline, 2008. "The Effect of Minimum Wages on Immigrants’ Employment and Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 3499, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00654181 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00654181 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Isabell Koske & Jean-Marc Fournier & Isabelle Wanner, 2012. "Less Income Inequality and More Growth – Are They Compatible? Part 2. The Distribution of Labour Income," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 925, OECD Publishing.
  7. Aydemir, Abdurrahman, 2012. "Skill Based Immigrant Selection and Labor Market Outcomes by Visa Category," IZA Discussion Papers 6433, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Guillaume Blache, 2011. "Active labour market policies in Denmark: A comparative analysis of post-program effects," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 11071, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.


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