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Migration to Switzerland: Some New Evidence


  • Golder, Stefan M.
  • Straubhaar, Thomas


Switzerland has experienced a substantial influx of immigrants over the 50 years since World War II, to the extent that it now has one of the highest share of foreigners in population among OECD countries. This paper analyses Switzerland’s experience of migration, centring on two main issues: the economic effects of migration and the labour market performance of immigrants. Two main results emerge from our study: first, as a result of shortcomings of the Swiss migration policy, immigrants tend to have a negative impact on the Swiss economy; and second, the analysis of labour market performance shows that there are substantial discrepancies in the performance of immigrants from different countries of origin. Immigrants from North European countries largely outperform immigrants from South European and non-European countries. On the basis of the empirical analysis, this study finally outlines some reform options for Swiss migration policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Golder, Stefan M. & Straubhaar, Thomas, 1998. "Migration to Switzerland: Some New Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 1791, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1791

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, "undated". "The Productivity of Nations," Working Papers 96012, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
    2. Helliwell, John F., 1994. "Empirical Linkages Between Democracy and Economic Growth," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(02), pages 225-248, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Golder, Stefan M. & Straubhaar, Thomas, 1999. "Empirical Findings on the Swiss Migration Experience," IZA Discussion Papers 40, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Agiomirgianakis, George & Zervoyianni, Athina, 2001. "Macroeconomic equilibrium with illegal immigration," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 181-202, April.
    3. Golder, Stefan M. & Straubhaar, Thomas, 1999. "Discrimination in the Swiss Labour Market: an Empirical Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 2100, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Agiomirgianakis, George & Zervoyianni, Athina, 2001. "Globalization of labor markets and macroeconomic equilibrium," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 109-133.

    More about this item


    Earnings Assimilation; factor income distribution; Factor Mobility; International Migration; Labour Productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • 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


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