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Welcome to the machine: firms' reaction to low-skilled immigration

  • Antonio Accetturo

    ()

    (Bank of Italy)

  • Matteo Bugamelli

    ()

    (Bank of Italy)

  • Andrea Lamorgese

    ()

    (Bank of Italy)

We assess the impact of low-skilled immigration on capital intensity. We first present a model characterized by frictions in the labor market and firms' asymmetric information on workers' skills and show that firms can react to the immigration-induced reduction of their workforce's skill level by increasing the capital-labor ratio. We test the predictions of the model on a sample of Italian manufacturing firms over the period 1996-2007, finding that increased immigration of low-skilled workers from developing countries, measured at the provincial level and instrumented with pre-existing enclaves of immigrants and network effects, raises capital intensity. In line with the predictions of the theoretical model, the impact of immigration, which is quite robust across empirical specifications, is stronger for larger firms and in skill-intensive sectors.

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Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 846.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_846_12
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Web page: http://www.bancaditalia.it

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  1. Bugamelli, Matteo & Schivardi, Fabiano & Zizza, Roberta, 2010. "The Euro and Firm Restructuring," CEPR Discussion Papers 7623, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  4. Susana Iranzo & Fabiano Schivardi & Elisa Tosetti, 2008. "Skill Dispersion and Firm Productivity: An Analysis with Employer-Employee Matched Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 247-285, 04.
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  8. Ethan Lewis, 2005. "Immigration, Skill Mix, and the Choice of Technique," Working Papers 05-04, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  9. Mark Doms & Timothy Dunne, 1994. "Capital Adjustment Patterns in Manufacturing Plants," Working Papers 94-11, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  10. David Card & Ethan Lewis, 2005. "The Diffusion of Mexican Immigrants During the 1990s: Explanations and Impacts," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0504, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  11. Elena Bontempi & Roberto Golinelli & Giuseppe Parigi, 2007. "Why demand uncertainty curbs investment: Evidence froma a panel of Italian manufacturing firms," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 621, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  12. Ethan Lewis, 2003. "Local, open economies within the U.S.: how do industries respond to immigration?," Working Papers 04-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  13. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415, July.
  14. Bianco, Madga & Golinelli, Roberto & Parigi, Giuseppe, 2009. "Family firms and investments," MPRA Paper 19247, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Francesca Modena & Concetta Rondinelli, 2011. "Leaving home and housing prices. The experience of Italian youth emancipation," Department of Economics Working Papers 1101, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  16. Christian Dustmann & Albrecht Glitz, 2011. "How Do Industries and Firms Respond to Changes in Local Labor Supply?," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1118, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
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