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Immigration, Labour Markets and Employment Relations: Problems and Prospects


  • Patrick McGovern


In this review essay, I argue that immigration presents employment researchers with a promising strategic research site because it raises a number of theoretically significant problems with mainstream economic approaches to labour and labour markets. Despite the tendency to view economic migrants as "homo economicus" personified, I argue that immigration brings the institutional nature of labour markets into sharp relief as it exposes, among other things, the influence of the state, processes of labour market segmentation, and the role of trade union policy and practice. Having identified a number of empirical anomalies that contradict neoclassical economic theory, I proceed to sketch out three areas where a more institutionally oriented approach should prove more fruitful. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd/London School of Economics 2007.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick McGovern, 2007. "Immigration, Labour Markets and Employment Relations: Problems and Prospects," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 45(2), pages 217-235, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:brjirl:v:45:y:2007:i:2:p:217-235

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dustmann, Christian & Schmidt, Christoph M., 2000. "The Wage Performance of Immigrant Women: Full-Time Jobs, Part-Time Jobs, and the Role of Selection," IZA Discussion Papers 233, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Maarten Vendrik & Christiane Schwieren, 2010. "Identification, screening and stereotyping in labour market discrimination," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 99(2), pages 141-171, March.
    2. Dawson Chris & Veliziotis Michail & Hopkins Benjamin, 2014. "Assimilation of the migrant work ethic," Working Papers 20141407, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
    3. Mikolaj Stanek & Alberto Veira, 2012. "Ethnic niching in a segmented labour market: Evidence from Spain," Migration Letters, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 9(3), pages 249-262, September.
    4. Linda Mcdowell & Adina Batnitzky & Sarah Dyer, 2009. "Precarious Work and Economic Migration: Emerging Immigrant Divisions of Labour in Greater London's Service Sector," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(1), pages 3-25, March.
    5. Maite Tapia & Lowell Turner, 2013. "Across Boundaries: The Global Challenges Facing Workers and Employment Research 50th Anniversary Special Issue," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 51(3), pages 601-622, September.
    6. Damian Raess & Brian Burgoon, 2015. "Flexible Work and Immigration in Europe," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 53(1), pages 94-111, March.
    7. Zinovijus Ciupijus, 2010. "Ethical Pitfalls of Temporary Labour Migration: A Critical Review of Issues," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 97(1), pages 9-18, December.

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