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


  • Vincent Corluy
  • Gerlinde Verbist


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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  • Vincent Corluy & Gerlinde Verbist, 2014. "Can education bridge the gap? Education and the employment position of immigrants in Belgium," ImPRovE Working Papers 14/02, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  • Handle: RePEc:hdl:improv:1402

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dries Lens & Ive Marx & SunÄ ica Vujić, 2017. "Integrating (former) asylum seekers into the Belgian labour market. What can we learn from the recent past?," Working Papers 1710, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    2. K. Burggraeve & C. Piton, 2016. "The economic consequences of the flow of refugees into Belgium," Economic Review, National Bank of Belgium, issue i, pages 43-61, June.

    More about this item


    Employment rate gap; education; immigrants; Belgium;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy

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