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Do better pre-migration skills accelerate immigrants' wage assimilation?

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  • Hirsch, Boris
  • Jahn, Elke J.
  • Toomet, Ott
  • Hochfellner, Daniela

Abstract

This paper analyzes wage assimilation of ethnic German immigrants to Germany using unique administrative data that include an administrative estimate of immigrants' expected wage in Germany at the time of migration. We find that a 10% higher wage potential translates into a 1.6% higher wage in Germany when also controlling for educational attainment, thus pointing at partial transferability of pre-migration skills to the host country's labor market. We also document that wage assimilation is significantly accelerated for immigrants with higher wage potentials. Our results are both in line with complementarities between pre-migration skills and host country-specific human capital and a U-shaped pattern of immigrants' job mobility with initial downgrading and subsequent upgrading.

Suggested Citation

  • Hirsch, Boris & Jahn, Elke J. & Toomet, Ott & Hochfellner, Daniela, 2014. "Do better pre-migration skills accelerate immigrants' wage assimilation?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 212-222.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:30:y:2014:i:c:p:212-222
    DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2014.04.004
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    Cited by:

    1. Jahn, Elke & Hirsch, Boris, 2012. "Is there monopsonistic discrimination against immigrants? First evidence from linked employer employee data," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 65417, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Migration; Labor market assimilation; Ethnic Germans; Transferability of human capital;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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