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Complements or Substitutes? Immigrant and Native Task Specialization in Spain

  • Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes

    ()

    (San Diego State University, IZA)

  • Sara de la Rica

    ()

    (Universidad del Pais Vasco, FEDEA, IZA)

Learning about the impact that immigration has on the labor market of the receiving nation is a topic of major concern, particularly in Spain, where immigration has more than doubled from 4 percent to roughly 10 percent of the population within a decade. Yet, very little is known about the impact that large immigrant inflows have had on the labor market outcomes of Spanish natives. Furthermore, most studies assume that natives and immigrants are perfect substitutes within skill groups -a questionable assumption given recent findings in the literature. In this paper, we first document that foreign-born workers are not perfect substitutes of similarly skilled native Spanish workers, which may help explain why immigration has not significantly lowered natives' wages. Instead, immigration has affected the occupational distribution of natives. Specifically, owing to the comparative advantage of foreign-born workers in manual as opposed to interactive tasks, natives relocated to occupations with a lower content of manual tasks -such as technical and alike professional occupations, clerical support jobs, and sales and service occupations. Yet, possibly owing to the significant and simultaneous reduction in the manual to interactive task supply resulting from the increase in the share of native female workers, the increase in the relative supply of manual to interactive tasks from foreign-born workers does not appear to have significantly changed the overall manual to interactive task supply in the Spanish economy.

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Paper provided by Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London in its series CReAM Discussion Paper Series with number 0816.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
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Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:0816
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  1. George J. Borjas, 2005. "The Labor Market Impact of High-Skill Immigration," NBER Working Papers 11217, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economic Benefits from Immigration," NBER Working Papers 4955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. John DiNardo & David Card, 2000. "Do Immigrant Inflows Lead to Native Outflows?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 360-367, May.
  4. Libertad González & Francesc Ortega, 2008. "How Do Very Open Economies Absorb Large Immigration Flows? Recent Evidence from Spanish Regions," Economic Reports 06-08, FEDEA.
  5. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2009. "Task Specialization, Immigration, and Wages," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 135-69, July.
  6. 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.
  7. Furtado, Delia & Hock, Heinrich, 2008. "Immigrant Labor, Child-Care Services, and the Work-Fertility Trade-Off in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 3506, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2001. "The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," NBER Working Papers 8337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. David Card, 1989. "The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market," Working Papers 633, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  10. Christian Dustmann & Tommaso Frattini & Ian Preston, 2008. "The Effect of Immigration along the Distribution of Wages," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0803, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  11. George J. Borjas & Lawrence F. Katz, 2007. "The Evolution of the Mexican-Born Workforce in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 13-56 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & de la Rica, Sara, 2008. "Does Immigration Raise Natives’ Income? National and Regional Evidence from Spain," IZA Discussion Papers 3486, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. David Card, 2004. "Is the New Immigration Really So Bad?," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0402, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  14. Albert Saiz, 2003. "Room in the Kitchen for the Melting Pot: Immigration and Rental Prices," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 502-521, August.
  15. David Card, 1997. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," NBER Working Papers 5927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
  19. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Peri, Giovanni, 2005. "Rethinking the Gains from Immigration: Theory and Evidence from the US," CEPR Discussion Papers 5226, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Raquel Carrasco & Juan Jimeno & A. Ortega, 2008. "The effect of immigration on the labor market performance of native-born workers: some evidence for Spain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 627-648, July.
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