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The impact of immigration on occupational wages: evidence from Britain

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  • Stephen Nickell
  • Jumana Saleheen

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

  • Stephen Nickell & Jumana Saleheen, 2008. "The impact of immigration on occupational wages: evidence from Britain," Working Papers 08-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:08-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19797, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    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. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173.
    4. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Peri, Giovanni, 2008. "Immigration and National Wages: Clarifying the Theory and the Empirics," CEPR Discussion Papers 6916, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. David Card, 2005. "Is the New Immigration Really so Bad?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(507), pages 300-323, November.
    6. 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.
    7. Abdurrahman Aydemir & George J. Borjas, 2011. "Attenuation Bias in Measuring the Wage Impact of Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 69-113, January.
    8. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2005. "Rethinking the Gains from Immigration: Theory and Evidence from the U.S," NBER Working Papers 11672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. 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.
    10. Pesaran, M. Hashem & Smith, Ron, 1995. "Estimating long-run relationships from dynamic heterogeneous panels," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 79-113, July.
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    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. Marco Manacorda & Alan Manning & Jonathan Wadsworth, 2012. "The Impact Of Immigration On The Structure Of Wages: Theory And Evidence From Britain," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 120-151, February.
    15. Ethan Lewis, 2005. "Immigration, Skill Mix, and the Choice of Technique," Working Papers 05-04, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    16. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-1426, November.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Emigration and immigration - Great Britain ; Wages - Great Britain;

    JEL classification:

    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

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