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The impact of immigration on occupational wages: evidence from Britain

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  • Nickell, Stephen
  • Saleheen, Jumana

Abstract

This paper asks whether immigration to Britain has had any impact on average wages. There seems to be a broad consensus among academics that the share of immigrants in the workforce has little or no effect on the pay rates of the indigenous population. But the studies in the literature have typically not refined their analysis by breaking it down into different occupational groups. In this paper we find that once the occupational breakdown is incorporated into a regional analysis of immigration in Britain, the immigrant-native ratio has a significant, small, negative impact on average wages. Closer examination reveals that the biggest impact is in the semi/unskilled services sector. This finding accords well with intuition and anecdote, but does not seem to have been recorded previously in the empirical literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Nickell, Stephen & Saleheen, Jumana, 2009. "The impact of immigration on occupational wages: evidence from Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 33272, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:33272
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Immigration & the media
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2011-07-18 19:40:04
    2. Miliband on immigration
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2010-09-29 18:05:08
    3. Immigration: let's not be reasonable
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2012-11-02 19:40:42
    4. Immigration & irrationalism
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-03-26 19:26:19
    5. Immigration & spontaneous order
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2014-11-29 19:38:17
    6. Divide-and-rule
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2012-12-17 20:45:31
    7. Talking about immigration
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-03-08 21:30:30
    8. UKIP: the victory of the ruling class
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-05-04 16:44:21
    9. Immigration, class & ideology
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-06-29 17:52:28
    10. Immigration, Class, & Ideology
      by Mark Thoma in Economist's View on 2013-06-30 21:36:50
    11. Labour's cost of living problem
      by ? in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2013-08-24 17:11:00
    12. Non-issues
      by ? in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2014-02-05 20:23:00
    13. The left & immigration
      by ? in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2014-05-27 19:08:00
    14. The impact of immigration on occupational wages: evidence from Britain
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2016-02-12 18:26:00

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Torben M. Andersen & Giuseppe Bertola & John Driffill & Clemens Fuest & Harold James & Jan-Egbert Sturm & Branko Uroševic, 2017. "Chapter 3: Britain and EUexit – The People Versus the EU," EEAG Report on the European Economy, CESifo, vol. 0, pages 67-81, March.
    2. Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2014. "Immigration, the European union and the UK labour market," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 57984, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Nicholas Oulton, 2019. "The UK and Western Productivity Puzzle: Does Arthur Lewis Hold the Key?," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 36, pages 110-141, Spring.
    4. Hans-Bernd Schäfer & Jörn Axel Kämmerer, 2020. "Der Brexit zwischen britischem Autonomiestreben und Handelsgewinnen [The Brexit between British Autonomy and Trade Gains]," Wirtschaftsdienst, Springer;ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 100(11), pages 856-861, November.
    5. Blanchflower, David G. & Lawton, Helen, 2008. "The Impact of the Recent Expansion of the EU on the UK Labour Market," IZA Discussion Papers 3695, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Max Viskanic, 2020. "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail: Did Immigration Cause Brexit?," Sciences Po publications 100, Sciences Po.
    7. Thomas Sampson, 2017. "Brexit: The Economics of International Disintegration," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 163-184, Fall.
    8. Neil Lee & Katy Morris & Thomas Kemeny, 2018. "Immobility and the Brexit vote," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 11(1), pages 143-163.
    9. Thomas Sampson, 2017. "Brexit: The Economics of International Disintegration," CESifo Working Paper Series 6668, CESifo.
    10. Christian Dustmann & Tommaso Frattini & Caroline Halls, 2010. "Assessing the Fiscal Costs and Benefits of A8 Migration to the UK," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 31(1), pages 1-41, March.
    11. Siudek, Tomasz & Zawojska, Aldona, 2016. "Foreign labour in agricultural sectors of some EU countries," 160th Seminar, December 1-2, 2016, Warsaw, Poland 249797, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    12. Rachel Griffith & Rodrigo Lluberas & Melanie Lührmann, 2016. "Gluttony and Sloth? Calories, Labor Market Activity and the Rise of Obesity," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(6), pages 1253-1286.
    13. Thomas Sampson, 2017. "Brexit: The Economics of International Disintegration," CEP Discussion Papers dp1499, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    14. Arnorsson, Agust & Zoega, Gylfi, 2018. "On the causes of Brexit," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 301-323.
    15. Wenlang Zhang & Gaofeng Han, 2013. "How have Labour Market Developments Affected Labour Costs in China?," Working Papers 072013, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
    16. Ray Barrell & John Fitzgerald & Rebecca Riley, 2010. "EU Enlargement and Migration: Assessing the Macroeconomic Impacts," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 373-395, March.
    17. Sampson, Thomas, 2017. "Brexit: the economics of international disintegration," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86591, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    18. 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.
    19. Manuel González Gómez & Mª Soledad Otero Giráldez, 2017. "The causality between economic growth and immigration in EU/EFTA member states," Working Papers 1701, Universidade de Vigo, Departamento de Economía Aplicada.
    20. Stephen Nickell & Jumana Saleheen, 2017. "The impact of EU and Non-EU immigration on British wages," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 7(1), pages 1-28, December.
    21. Julie Fry, 2014. "Migration and Macroeconomic Performance in New Zealand: Theory and Evidence," Treasury Working Paper Series 14/10, New Zealand Treasury.
    22. Bisello, Martina, 2014. "How does immigration affect natives’ task-specialisation? Evidence from the United Kingdom," ISER Working Paper Series 2014-12, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    23. Clark, Ken & Drinkwater, Stephen & Robinson, Catherine, 2014. "Migration, Economic Crisis and Adjustment in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 8410, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    24. Martina Bisello, 2013. "Job polarization in Britain from a task-based perspective.Evidence from the UK Skills Surveys," Discussion Papers 2013/160, Dipartimento di Economia e Management (DEM), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
    25. Luca Barbone & Andrew Dabalen, 2009. "Enhancing the development impact of migration," Bank i Kredyt, Narodowy Bank Polski, vol. 40(6), pages 59-76.

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