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Emigration of Immigrants and Measures of Immigrant Assimilation: Evidence from Sweden

  • Per-Anders Edin
  • Robert J. LaLonde
  • Olof Aslund

Most previously used measures of immigrant labor market assimilation will be biased if there is non-random emigration of immigrants. We use longitudinal data on immigration to Sweden 1970-1990 to examine the extent and pattern of immigrant emigration and its consequences for measures of assimilation. Large fractions of the immigrants leave the host country shortly after arrival; within five years, more than a quarter of the people studied emigrated. As expected, economic migrants are much more likely to emigrate than political ones. Further, within these two groups, it is the least economically successful who leave. Accordingly, not adjusting for emigration leads to overrating of the economic assimilation for Nordic and OECD immigrants by as much as 90 percent or more.

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Paper provided by Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago in its series Working Papers with number 0020.

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Date of creation: Oct 2000
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Handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:0020
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  1. Edin, Per-Anders & Fredriksson, Peter, 2000. "LINDA - Longitudinal INdividual DAta for Sweden," Working Paper Series 2000:19, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  2. George J. Borjas, 1988. "Immigration And Self-Selection," NBER Working Papers 2566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Borjas, George J, 1985. "Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 463-89, October.
  4. Borjas, George J & Bratsberg, Bernt, 1996. "Who Leaves? The Outmigration of the Foreign-Born," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 165-76, February.
  5. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
  6. Robert J. LaLonde & Robert H. Topel, 1990. "The Assimilation of Immigrants in the U.S. Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 3573, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Robert Warren & Jennifer Peck, 1980. "Foreign-Born Emigration From The United States: 1960 To 1970," Demography, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 71-84, February.
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