Do foreigners replace native immigrants? A panel cointegration analysis of internal migration in Italy
This paper examines the impact of the immigration of foreigners on domestic labor mobility. Since David Card's seminal study on the regional labor market impact of the Mariel Boatlift it is controversial whether domestic labor mobility equilibrates economic conditions across regions. However, there is little or no evidence that natives leave destinations where migrants tend to cluster. In this paper we reconcile the existing evidence by taking another route: we analyze whether the immigration of foreigners replaces domestic mobility from poor to rich regions. We focus on Italy, which is characterized by large North-South wage and unemployment differentials, and apply panel cointegration methods. The main finding is that, conditional on unemployment and wage differentials, the presence of foreign workers in the labor force of the destination regions discourages internal labor mobility significantly. As a consequence, spatial correlation studies which use the variance of the foreigner share across regions for identifying the wage and employment effects of immigration, tend to understate the actual impact of foreign immigration.
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