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Immigration, Jobs and Employment Protection: Evidence from Europe before and during the Great Recession


  • D'Amuri Francesco
  • Giovanni Peri

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)


n this paper we analyze the impact of immigrants on the type and quantity of native jobs. We use data on fifteen Western European countries during the 1996-2010 period. We find that immigrants, by taking manual-routine type of occupations pushed natives towards more "complex" (abstract and communication) jobs. Such positive reallocation occurred while the total number of jobs held by natives was unaffected. This job upgrade was associated in the short run to a 0.6% increase in native wages for a doubling of the immigrants' share. These results are robust to the use of two alternative IV strategies based on past settlement of immigrants across European countries measured alternatively with Census or Labor Force data. The job upgrade slowed, but did not come to a halt, during the Great Recession. We also document the labor market flows behind it: the complexity of jobs offered to new native hires was higher relative to the complexity of lost jobs. Finally, we find evidence that such reallocation was significantly larger in countries with more flexible labor laws and that his tendency was particularly strong for less educated workers.

Suggested Citation

  • D'Amuri Francesco & Giovanni Peri, 2012. "Immigration, Jobs and Employment Protection: Evidence from Europe before and during the Great Recession," Working Papers 1215, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:12-15

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages 1-33, March.
    2. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2016. "Task Specialization, Immigration, and Wages," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Economics of International Migration, chapter 3, pages 81-115 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    3. David Card, 2009. "Immigration and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1-21.
    4. Simonetta Longhi & Peter Nijkamp & Jacques Poot, 2005. "A Meta-Analytic Assessment of the Effect of Immigration on Wages," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 451-477, July.
    5. Libertad González & Francesc Ortega, 2008. "How Do Very Open Economies Absorb Large Immigration Flows? Recent Evidence from Spanish Regions," Economic Reports 06-08, FEDEA.
    6. Christian Dustmann & Tommaso Frattini & Ian P. Preston, 2013. "The Effect of Immigration along the Distribution of Wages," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(1), pages 145-173.
    7. Christian Dustmann & Albrecht Glitz & Tommaso Frattini, 2008. "The labour market impact of immigration," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(3), pages 478-495, Autumn.
    8. Michael W. L. Elsby & Bart Hobijn & Aysegul Sahin, 2010. "The Labor Market in the Great Recession," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(1 (Spring), pages 1-69.
    9. Acemoglu, Daron & Autor, David, 2011. "Skills, Tasks and Technologies: Implications for Employment and Earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    10. Poterba, James M & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "Reporting Errors and Labor Market Dynamics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1319-1338, November.
    11. Ortega, Francesc & Peri, Giovanni, 2011. "The Aggregate Effects of Trade and Migration: Evidence from OECD Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 5604, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    More about this item


    Immigration; Jobs; Task specialization; Employment Protection Laws; Europe;

    JEL classification:

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

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