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Assimilation of Migrants into the British Labour Market

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  • Richard Dickens
  • Abigail McKnight

Abstract

This paper discusses the extent to which migrants to Britain have been assimilated into the workforce. Migration into Britain has increased over the last 25 years, with a big increase in inflows in recent years. The paper shows that when a migrant worker first arrives they experience a pay gap with native born counterparts of over 30% for men and 15% for women. This pay penalty declines with years spent in Britain. For migrant men it takes 20 years to eradicate this difference. For migrant women just 4-6 years. Different nationalities experience different rates of assimilation, with Europeans catching up the fastest but Asian men showing little signs of catching up at all. More recent entry cohorts of migrants have fared better but this is largely because they enter with a smaller pay penalty rather than experience faster wage growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Dickens & Abigail McKnight, 2008. "Assimilation of Migrants into the British Labour Market," CASE Papers case133, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:sticas:case133
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    File URL: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/case/cp/CASEpaper133.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Borjas, George J, 1995. "Assimilation and Changes in Cohort Quality Revisited: What Happened to Immigrant Earnings in the 1980s?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 201-245, April.
    2. Borjas, George J., 1999. "The economic analysis of immigration," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1697-1760 Elsevier.
    3. Bell, Brian D, 1997. "The Performance of Immigrants in the United Kingdom: Evidence from the GHS," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 333-344, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Knies, Gundi & Nandi, Alita & Platt, Lucinda, 2014. "Life satisfaction, ethnicity and neighbourhoods: is there an effect of neighbourhood ethnic composition on life satisfaction?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 55669, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Lemos, Sara, 2013. "Immigrant economic assimilation: Evidence from UK longitudinal data between 1978 and 2006," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 339-353.
    3. Lemos, Sara, 2017. "Mind the gap: A detailed picture of the immigrant-native earnings gap in the UK using longitudinal data between 1978 and 2006," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 57-75.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    migration; labour markets; assimilation;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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