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Employment Polarization and Immigrant Employment Opportunities

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  • Hanna Wielandt

Abstract

Building on the task-based approach of technological change, this paper discusses the interaction between occupational polarization (e.g. a gradual increase of native employment in the lowest and highest-paying jobs) and employment opportunities of immigrant workers. Using high quality administrative data for Germany, I first show that technological change is positively related to employment growth of natives in low-paying occupations that are also typically held by immigrant workers. In a second step, I show that labor markets in which native employment in those low-paying occupations grew more also experienced a larger decline in immigrant employment rates. The findings are consistent with the idea that the reallocation of natives towards low paying occupations induces stronger competition in the low-skill labor market, a segment in which foreign workers are typically employed. The results suggest that this relationship is more relevant for recent immigrants who have been in Germany for less than 5 years, and that approximately one third of the decline in employment rates could be associated with occupational polarization of native employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Hanna Wielandt, 2015. "Employment Polarization and Immigrant Employment Opportunities," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2015-025, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2015-025
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Job Tasks; Polarization; Technological Change; Immigration;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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