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Legal Status and Immigrants’ Labour Market Outcomes: Comparative Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment in Western and Southern Europe

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Abstract

Improved legal status has been found to be associated with better employment chances and higher wages for immigrants, although causal effects remain difficult to ascertain due to severe endogeneity issues. This article contributes to the debate on the "citizenship/legal status premium" in the labour market by providing quasi-experimental evidence based on the 2007 EU Eastern Enlargement, following which immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria, the new EU Member States, exogenously acquired the EU citizen status. The article also contributes to the literature on legal status effects, mainly focused on single-country studies, by comparing "older" destination countries of Western Europe with "newer" ones of Southern Europe. Results show that while improved legal status is associated to higher employment rates in Western European countries, the association is null or even negative in Southern European countries, where immigrants are more strongly urged to be employed. However, improved legal status is more strongly associated with better job quality in Southern Europe, where immigrants are usually segregated in low-skilled jobs. The article concludes that possible effects of improved legal status should be interpreted taking into account the different institutional contexts and models of immigrants’ labour market incorporation.

Suggested Citation

  • Ivana Fellini & Raffaele Guetto, 2019. "Legal Status and Immigrants’ Labour Market Outcomes: Comparative Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment in Western and Southern Europe," Econometrics Working Papers Archive 2019_11, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni "G. Parenti".
  • Handle: RePEc:fir:econom:wp2019_11
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Legal Status; Ethnic penalty; EU enlargement; Labour market; Naturalisation; Southern Europe; Quasi-experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • C10 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - General

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