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Immigration, Trade and Productivity in Services: Evidence from U.K. Firms

Listed author(s):
  • Ottaviano, Gianmarco
  • Peri, Giovanni
  • Wright, Greg C.

This paper explores the impact of immigrants on the imports, exports and productivity of service-producing firms in the U.K. Immigrants may substitute for imported intermediate inputs (offshore production) and they may impact the productivity of the firm as well as its export behavior. The first effect can be understood as the re-assignment of offshore productive tasks to immigrant workers. The second can be seen as a productivity or cost cutting effect due to immigration, and the third as the effect of immigrants on specific bilateral trade costs. We test the predictions of our model using differences in immigrant inflows across U.K. labor markets, instrumented with an enclave-based instrument that distinguishes between aggregate and bilateral immigration, as well as immigrant diversity. We find that immigrants increase overall productivity in service-producing firms, revealing a cost cutting impact on these firms. Immigrants also reduce the extent of country-specific offshoring, consistent with a reallocation of tasks and, finally, they increase country-specific exports, implying an important role in reducing communication and trade costs for services.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 10627.

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Date of creation: May 2015
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10627
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  1. Timothy Hatton, 2005. "Explaining trends in UK immigration," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 18(4), pages 719-740, November.
  2. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri & Greg C. Wright, 2010. "Immigration, Offshoring and American Jobs," Working Papers 2010.145, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  3. Breinlich, Holger & Criscuolo, Chiara, 2010. "International Trade in Services: A Portrait of Importers and Exporters," CEPR Discussion Papers 7837, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 9755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Genc, Murat & Gheasi, Masood & Nijkamp, Peter & Poot, Jacques, 2011. "The Impact of Immigration on International Trade: A Meta-Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 6145, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Thierry Mayer & Gianmarco Ottaviano, 2008. "The Happy Few: The Internationalisation of European Firms," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;German National Library of Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 43(3), pages 135-148, May.
  7. GianMarco Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2004. "The Economic Value of Cultural Diversity: Evidence from US cities," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 91, Econometric Society.
  8. Andrew.B Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2007. "Firms in international trade," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3682, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2010. "Assessing Inherent Model Bias: An Application to Native Displacement in Response to Immigration," NBER Working Papers 16332, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Caselli, Francesco & Coleman II, Wilbur John, 2000. "The World Technology Frontier," CEPR Discussion Papers 2584, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Alesina, Alberto & Harnoss, Johann & Rapoport, Hillel, 2013. "Birthplace Diversity and Economic Prosperity," IZA Discussion Papers 7568, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Giovanni Peri & Kevin Shih & Chad Sparber, 2015. "STEM Workers, H-1B Visas, and Productivity in US Cities," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(S1), pages 225-255.
  13. 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.
  14. Brian Bell & Francesco Fasani & Stephen Machin, 2010. "Crime and Immigration: Evidence from Large Immigrant Waves," CEP Discussion Papers dp0984, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  15. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," NBER Working Papers 12721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. Paul Beaudry & David A. Green, 2005. "Changes in U.S. Wages, 19762000: Ongoing Skill Bias or Major Technological Change?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(3), pages 609-648, July.
  18. Ortega, Francesc & Peri, Giovanni, 2014. "Openness and income: The roles of trade and migration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 231-251.
  19. James E. Rauch & Vitor Trindade, 2002. "Ethnic Chinese Networks In International Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 116-130, February.
  20. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Leo Kahane & Neil Longley & Robert Simmons, 2013. "The Effects of Coworker Heterogeneity on Firm-Level Output: Assessing the Impacts of Cultural and Language Diversity in the National Hockey League," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(1), pages 302-314, March.
  22. David Card, 2009. "Immigration and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 14683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Michaela Trax & Stephan Brunow & Jens Suedekum, 2012. "Cultural diversity and plant-level productivity," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1223, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  24. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Grossmann, Volker & Kohler, Wilhelm, 2012. "Migration, International Trade and Capital Formation: Cause or Effect?," IZA Discussion Papers 6975, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  25. Paul Beaudry & Mark Doms & Ethan Lewis, 2010. "Should the Personal Computer Be Considered a Technological Revolution? Evidence from U.S. Metropolitan Areas," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(5), pages 988-1036.
  26. Foged, Mette & Peri, Giovanni, 2015. "Immigrants' Effect on Native Workers: New Analysis on Longitudinal Data," IZA Discussion Papers 8961, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  27. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2008. "Task Specialization, Immigration, and Wages," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0802, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  28. Bartel, Ann P, 1989. "Where Do the New U.S. Immigrants Live?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 371-391, October.
  29. Paul Beaudry & David A. Green, 2003. "Wages and Employment in the United States and Germany: What Explains the Differences?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 573-602, June.
  30. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1335-1374.
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