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Portability of Human Capital and Immigrant Overeducation in Spain

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  • Esteve Sanromá
  • Raúl Ramos
  • Hipólito Simón

Abstract

The literature on immigrant assimilation highlights the imperfect portability of the human capital acquired by immigrants in their country of origin, which accounts for their low levels of labor market integration upon arrival in the new country, as well as their initially wide earnings gap. Recent studies have examined this issue from the perspective of overeducation. This study analyzes the portability of immigrants’ human capital into the Spanish job market according to their geographic origin. Spain’s immigrants originate from a highly varied range of countries, with origins as diverse as Latin America, the Maghreb, and Eastern Europe. Here, the use of public microdata files from the Spanish Census permits us to identify up to six regions of immigrant origin comprising developed countries and developing economies, distinguishing, furthermore, different regions of origin on the basis of their language and level of development. The results obtained indicate differing degrees of transferability of human capital depending on geographic origin, with transferability being greater for immigrants from countries that are highly developed or which have a similar culture or language and lower for those from developing countries and with more distant cultures. As an immigrant’s period of residence in Spain is prolonged, integration does take place but the pace is slow (between 7 and 9 years). Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Esteve Sanromá & Raúl Ramos & Hipólito Simón, 2015. "Portability of Human Capital and Immigrant Overeducation in Spain," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 34(2), pages 223-241, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:poprpr:v:34:y:2015:i:2:p:223-241
    DOI: 10.1007/s11113-014-9340-y
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    5. Matloob Piracha & Florin Vadean, 2013. "Migrant educational mismatch and the labor market," Chapters, in: Amelie F. Constant & Klaus F. Zimmermann (ed.), International Handbook on the Economics of Migration, chapter 9, pages 176-192, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Peter Huber & Klaus Nowotny & Julia Bock-Schappelwein, 2010. "Qualification Structure, Over- and Under-qualification of the Foreign Born in Austria and the EU," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 41226, June.
    7. Akira Shimada, 2019. "Should the Government Promote Global Education?," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(2), pages 323-341.
    8. Jacobs, Valentine & Mahy, Benoît & Rycx, Francois & Volral, Mélanie, 2019. "The Heterogeneous Effects of Workers' Countries of Birth on Over-Education," IZA Discussion Papers 12705, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Nieto, Sandra & Matano, Alessia & Ramos, Raul, 2013. "Skill Mismatches in the EU: Immigrants vs. Natives," IZA Discussion Papers 7701, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Merve Cim & Michael Kind & Jan Kleibrink, 2020. "Occupational mismatch of immigrants in Europe: the role of education and cognitive skills," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(1), pages 96-112, January.
    11. Nicola D. Coniglio & Giuseppe De Arcangelis & Laura Serlenga, 2010. "Return Decisions of Undocumented Migrants: Do Network Effects Help the High‐skilled Overstay?," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 24(s1), pages 93-113, December.
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