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Does immigration increase labour market flexibility?

  • Røed, Marianne
  • Schøne, Pål
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    The question we investigate empirically in this article is whether immigration makes the labour supply in the receiving country more responsive to regional differences in economic opportunities. The main merit of the paper is that we examine three stages in the regional mobility of refugees and labour immigrants: First, the settlement pattern of newly arrived immigrants, second, their subsequent mobility between regions and, third, their eventual exit from the regional labour market to abroad. The analyses apply to immigrants who arrived in Norway from 1995 to 2004. In all three stages, mobility is investigated with regard to its responsiveness to regional differences in wages and unemployment. The main finding is that, in all three stages, the geographical mobility of immigrants is sensitive to regional economic opportunities. In that sense, immigrants do “grease the wheels” of the labour markets, through all the three stages of mobility. The most robust results are found for regional unemployment differences. With regard to natives, we generally do not find any strong evidence for “greasing the wheels” effects.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

    Volume (Year): 19 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 527-540

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:19:y:2012:i:4:p:527-540
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