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On the risk of unemployment: a comparative assessment of the labour market success of migrants in Australia


  • Prem J. Thapa

    () (Australian National University)


This paper analyses the ‘risk’ of unemployment of male immigrants to Australia relative to the native born using Wave 1 of HILDA. It exploits the more detailed information in HILDA on individual and parental characteristics that affect labour market outcomes than has been used in previous studies. The paper also benchmarks the results obtained with the HILDA data (referring to 2001) by comparing it with results from the 1990 Income Distribution Survey data. This approach permits analyses both of changes over time between 1990 and 2001, and of the robustness of results across model specifications based on limited and extensive data. The results show there is a clear disadvantage in the probability of finding employment for migrants with similar characteristics of a native born Australian in both time periods. Migrant relative disadvantage has not diminished in spite of greater emphasis on skilled migration in recent years. The extended HILDA model results show that the effects of variables commonly used previously are quite robust, but several additional correlates of individual unemployment are identified for migrant specific as well as general characteristics.

Suggested Citation

  • Prem J. Thapa, 2004. "On the risk of unemployment: a comparative assessment of the labour market success of migrants in Australia," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 7(2), pages 199-229, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ozl:journl:v:7:y:2004:i:2:p:199-229

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anh T. Le & Paul W. Miller, 2000. "An Evaluation of Inertia Models of Unemployment," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 33(3), pages 205-220.
    2. Russell Ross & Peter Saunders, 1990. "The Labour Supply Behaviour of Single Mothers and Married Mothers in Australia," Discussion Papers 0019, University of New South Wales, Social Policy Research Centre.
    3. Hersch, Joni & Stratton, Leslie S, 1994. "Housework, Wages, and the Division of Housework Time for Employed Spouses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 120-125, May.
    4. Harris, Mark N, 1996. "Modelling the Probability of Youth Unemployment in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 72(217), pages 118-129, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gatina, Liliya, 2016. "Does money buy happiness? Financial and general well-being of immigrants in Australia," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 91-105.
    2. Jaai Parasnis & Dietrich Fausten & Russell Smyth, 2006. "The Impact of Immigration on Native Workers in Australia," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-40, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    3. Prem Jung Thapa & Tue Gørgens, 2006. "A Duration Analysis of the Time Taken to Find the First Job for Newly Arrived Migrants in Australia," CEPR Discussion Papers 527, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    4. Kelly, Elish & McGuinness, Seamus & O'Connell, Philip J., 2011. "Transitions to Long-Term Unemployment Risk Among Young People: Evidence from Ireland," Papers WP394, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    5. Nina Westerheide & Goran Kauermann, 2014. "Unemployed in Germany: Factors Influencing the Risk of Losing the Job," Research in World Economy, Research in World Economy, Sciedu Press, vol. 5(2), pages 43-55, September.
    6. Denise Doiron & Rochelle Guttmann, 2009. "Wealth Distributions of Migrant and Australian-born Households," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 85(268), pages 32-45, March.

    More about this item


    Unemployment; Models; Duration; Incidence; and Job Search Mobility; Mobility; Unemployment; and Vacancies: Public Policy (Employment Services) Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers;

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers


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