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Ethnic Minorities Rewarded: Ethnostratification on the Wage Market in Belgium


  • Sara Vertommen

    (Catholic University Leuven)

  • Albert Martens

    (Catholic University Leuven)


Several previous researches have confirmed the hypothesis of ethnostratification, which holds that the labour market is divided into different ethnic layers. While people of a European origin are over-represented in the top layers (the primary market), people with non-European roots and/or nationalities are more concentrated in bottom layers (the secondary market). Relative to the primary market, this secondary market is characterized by a higher chance of unemployment, lower wages, poorer working conditions and greater job insecurity. This paper deals with a very important condition of work: the wage. Does origin have an impact on the level of wage? We make a distinction between nine origin groups: Belgians, North en West Europeans, South Europeans (from Greece, Spain, Portugal), Italians, East Europeans, Moroccans, Turks, Sub Sahara Africans and Asians. The first part of this article briefly describes the database used for the analyses and presents a few general figures for the total Belgian population. In the second part we examine the impact of origin on wage levels. For each origin group we will give an overview of the average daily wages and the partition over the wage classes. For the “weaker” populations, gender and age are taken into account. Finally, by means of a regression analysis, we will examine the influence of origin while controlling a few other variables that may influence the wage level.

Suggested Citation

  • Sara Vertommen & Albert Martens, 2006. "Ethnic Minorities Rewarded: Ethnostratification on the Wage Market in Belgium," Working Papers 2006.61, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2006.61

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    Origin; Wage Levels and Distributions; Ethnostratification; Valuable Database;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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