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Does Immigration Raise Natives’ Income? National and Regional Evidence from Spain


  • Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes
  • Sara de la Rica


How immigration affects the labor market of the host country is a topic of major concern for many immigrant-receiving nations. Spain is no exception following the rapid increase in immigrant flows experienced over the past decade. We assess the impact of immigration on Spanish natives’ income by estimating the net immigration surplus accruing at the national level and at high immigrant-receiving regions while taking into account the imperfect substitutability of immigrant and native labor. Specifically, using information on the occupational densities of immigrants and natives of different skill levels, we develop a mapping of immigrant-to-native self-reported skills that reveals the combination of natives across skills that would be equivalent to an immigrant of a given self-reported skill level, which we use to account for any differences between immigrant self-reported skill levels and their effective skills according to the Spanish labor market. We find that the immigrant surplus amounts to 0.04 percent of GDP at the national level and it is even higher for some of the main immigrant-receiving regions, such as Cataluña, Valencia, Madrid, and Murcia.

Suggested Citation

  • Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Sara de la Rica, 2008. "Does Immigration Raise Natives’ Income? National and Regional Evidence from Spain," Working Papers 2008-17, FEDEA.
  • Handle: RePEc:fda:fdaddt:2008-17

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Manacorda, Marco & Manning, Alan & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2006. "The impact of immigration on the structure of male wages: theory and evidence from Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19797, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Antonio Ciccone & Giovanni Peri, 2006. "Identifying Human-Capital Externalities: Theory with Applications," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(2), pages 381-412.
    3. George J. Borjas, 1995. "The Economic Benefits from Immigration," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 3-22, Spring.
    4. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2001. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 705-746.
    5. Giovanni Peri, 2007. "Immigrants' Complementarities and Native Wages: Evidence from California," NBER Working Papers 12956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Card, David, 2001. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 22-64, January.
    7. 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.
    8. Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2016. "Rethinking The Effect Of Immigration On Wages," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Economics of International Migration, chapter 2, pages 35-80 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. F. Alfonso Arellano, 2010. "Inmigrantes y periodo de residencia: descriptiva de la asimilación en materia laboral entre España y la Comunidad de Madrid," Economic Reports 09-2010, FEDEA.
    2. González, Libertad & Ortega, Francesc, 2011. "How do very open economies adjust to large immigration flows? Evidence from Spanish regions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 57-70, January.
    3. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & de la Rica, Sara, 2011. "Complements or substitutes? Task specialization by gender and nativity in Spain," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 697-707, October.
    4. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Sara de la Rica, 2008. "Complements or Substitutes? Immigrant and Native Task Specialization in Spain," Working Papers 2008-35, FEDEA.
    5. Núria Rodríguez-Planas & Raquel Vegas, 2011. "Moroccans' Assimilation In Spain: Family-Based Versus Labor-Based Migration," Middle East Development Journal (MEDJ), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 3(02), pages 119-139.
    6. Lídia Farré & Núria Rodríguez-Planas, 2014. "Immigrants from eastern partnership (EaP) countries in Spain," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-28, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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