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Who Opposes Immigrants' Integration into the Labor Market? The Swiss Case


  • Tobias Müller
  • Silvio H. T. Tai


First, we spell out a political-economy model, based on segmented labor markets, which explains why a guest-worker system is preferred to a non-discriminatory immigration regime and why measures to improve the integration of low-skill immigrants tend to be opposed subsequently. The model also predicts that attitudes towards the integration of immigrants are positively related to education. Second, we examine the empirical evidence on attitudes towards the integration of immigrants. Our findings from Swiss data are consistent with the prediction of the theoretical model. Both economic and non-economic factors seem to matter in the positive relationship between attitudes and education.

Suggested Citation

  • Tobias Müller & Silvio H. T. Tai, 2010. "Who Opposes Immigrants' Integration into the Labor Market? The Swiss Case," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 146(IV), pages 741-767, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ses:arsjes:2010-iv-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anna Maria Mayda, 2006. "Who Is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 510-530, August.
    2. Bauer, Thomas K. & Lofstrom, Magnus & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2000. "Immigration Policy, Assimilation of Immigrants and Natives' Sentiments towards Immigrants: Evidence from 12 OECD-Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 187, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Dustmann Christian & Preston Ian P, 2007. "Racial and Economic Factors in Attitudes to Immigration," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-41, November.
    4. Giovanni Facchini & Anna Maria Mayda, 2008. "From individual attitudes towards migrants to migration policy outcomes: Theory and evidence," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 23, pages 651-713, October.
    5. Bulow, Jeremy I & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "A Theory of Dual Labor Markets with Application to Industrial Policy,Discrimination, and Keynesian Unemployment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages 376-414, July.
    6. Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2001. "Labor Market Competition And Individual Preferences Over Immigration Policy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 133-145, February.
    7. Dustmann, C, 1993. "Earnings Adjustment of Temporary Migrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 6(2), pages 153-168, May.
    8. O'Rourke, Kevin H. & Sinnott, Richard, 2006. "The determinants of individual attitudes towards immigration," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 838-861, December.
    9. de Melo, Jaime & Miguet, Florence & Müller, Tobias, 2002. "The Political Economy of EU Enlargement: Lessons from Switzerland," CEPR Discussion Papers 3449, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Hainmueller, Jens & Hiscox, Michael J., 2007. "Educated Preferences: Explaining Attitudes Toward Immigration in Europe," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(02), pages 399-442, April.
    11. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
    12. Silvio Hong Tiing Tai & Tobias Müller, 2014. "Individual Attitudes Towards Migration: A Reexamination Of The Evidence," Anais do XL Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 40th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 100, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
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    More about this item


    immigration; immigrant integration; guest-workers; political economy;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior


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