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Can education bridge the gap? Education and the employment position of immigrants in Belgium

  • Vincent Corluy
  • Gerlinde Verbist
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    The employment rates of non-EU immigrants compared to natives in Belgium continue to be low. In this chapter we examine whether differences in educational attainments offer an adequate explanation for these persisting labour market disadvantages. We decompose the gap in labour market outcomes between immigrants and natives, using the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition method. The decomposition shows that for EU born immigrants three quarters of the gap can be attributed to differences in the observed, socio-economic characteristics between the two populations. For non-EU born immigrants, the differences in observed characteristics with natives can account for around one third of the gap. Although the explanatory power of our model remains limited for this group, substantial increases in the effect of observed characteristics are found over the last fifteen years. A detailed decomposition shows that lower educational levels, larger families and diverse regional settlement can, at least partly, explain the lower labour market attachment of non-EU born immigrants. Over the period in focus, the impact of differences in educational level between immigrants and natives has significantly grown, indicating a declining socio-economic profile of more recent immigrants as compared with natives.

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    File URL: http://www.centrumvoorsociaalbeleid.be/ImPRovE/Working%20Papers/ImPRovE%20WP%201402_1.pdf
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    Paper provided by Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp in its series ImPRovE Working Papers with number 14/02.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:hdl:improv:1402
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://improve-research.eu
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    1. Christian Belzil & François Poinas, 2008. "Education and Early Career Outcomes of Second-Generation Immigrants in France," Working Papers 0836, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
    2. Cotton, Jeremiah, 1988. "On the Decomposition of Wage Differentials," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(2), pages 236-43, May.
    3. Daniel A. Powers & Hirotoshi Yoshioka & Myeong-Su Yun, 2011. "mvdcmp: Multivariate decomposition for nonlinear response models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 11(4), pages 556-576, December.
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    5. Yun, Myeong-Su, 2003. "Decomposing Differences in the First Moment," IZA Discussion Papers 877, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    7. Heckman, James J., 2011. "The American Family in Black and White: A Post-Racial Strategy for Improving Skills to Promote Equality," IZA Discussion Papers 5495, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. S. Baert & B. Cockx, 2013. "Pure Ethnic Gaps in Educational Attainment and School to Work Transitions. When Do They Arise?," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 13/832, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    9. Piracha, Matloob & Vadean, Florin, 2012. "Migrant Educational Mismatch and the Labour Market," IZA Discussion Papers 6414, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Raquel Fernandez & Alessandra Fogli, 2005. "Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work, and Fertility," NBER Working Papers 11268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. David Neumark, 1987. "Employers' discriminatory behavior and the estimation of wage discrimination," Special Studies Papers 227, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    12. Vincent Corluy & Ive Marx & Gerlinde Verbist, 2011. "Employment chances and changes of immigrants in Belgium: the impact of citizenship," Working Papers 1107, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    13. Filippin, Antonio, 2009. "Can Workers' Expectations Account for the Persistence of Discrimination?," IZA Discussion Papers 4490, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
    15. Sa, Filipa, 2008. "Does Employment Protection Help Immigrants? Evidence from European Labor Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 3414, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. 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.
    17. Reimers, Cordelia W, 1983. "Labor Market Discrimination against Hispanic and Black Men," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 570-79, November.
    18. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    19. Ana Ferrer & W. Craig Riddell, 2008. "Education, credentials, and immigrant earnings," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(1), pages 186-216, February.
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