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The impact of immigration on occupational wages: evidence from Britain

  • Stephen Nickell
  • Jumana Saleheen

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.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Working Papers with number 08-6.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:08-6
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  1. Manacorda, Marco & Manning, Alan & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2006. "The Impact of Immigration on the Structure of Male Wages: Theory and Evidence from Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 2352, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. 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.
  3. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2006. "Rethinking the Gains from Immigration: Theory and Evidence from the U.S," Working Papers 2006.52, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  4. Gianmarco I P Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2008. "Immigration and National Wages: Clarifying the Theory and the Empirics," Working Papers 2008.77, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  5. Ethan Lewis, 2005. "Immigration, skill mix, and the choice of technique," Working Papers 05-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  6. Card, David, 2004. "Is the New Immigration Really So Bad?," IZA Discussion Papers 1119, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Christian Dustmann & Francesca Fabbri & Ian Preston, 2005. "The Impact of Immigration on the British Labour Market," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(507), pages F324-F341, November.
  8. Paul Beaudry & Mark Doms & Ethan Lewis, 2006. "Endogenous Skill Bias in Technology Adoption: City-Level Evidence from the IT Revolution," NBER Working Papers 12521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. David Card, 1990. "The impact of the Mariel boatlift on the Miami labor market," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(2), pages 245-257, January.
  10. Timothy Hatton, 2002. "Why Has UK Net Immigration Increased?," CEPR Discussion Papers 457, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  11. Pesaran, M.H. & Smith, R., 1992. "Estimating Long-Run Relationships From Dynamic Heterogeneous Panels," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9215, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  12. Baltagi, Badi H. & Li, Qi, 1995. "Testing AR(1) against MA(1) disturbances in an error component model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 133-151, July.
  13. 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.
  14. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
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