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The distribution of discrimination in immigrant earnings - evidence from Britain 1974-1993

  • Kevin Denny


    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College Dublin)

  • Colm Harmon

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Maurice Roche

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

This paper uses the General Household Survey data for the UK to study earnings discrimination between natives and migrants. The key result is that the main source of discrimination is ethnicity rather than migrant status per se. This paper differs from the conventional focus in studies of earnings discrimination, which focus on mean wage differences. In contrast we study the entire distribution of the wage gap, and incorporate distributionally sensitive measures of the wage gap reflecting different levels of aversion to discrimination. Our results are consistent with previous studies for the UK that find that non-white immigrants are the most widely discriminated in terms of their labour market returns. Moreover this discrimination on the basis of colour is also present in the sub-sample of natives.

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Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W97/19.

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Length: 21 pp.
Date of creation: 21 Aug 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:97/19
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  1. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-53, September.
  2. Blanchflower, D. & Oswald, A., 1989. "The Wage Curve," Papers 340, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  3. McNabb, Robert & Psacharopoulos, George, 1981. "Racial Earnings Differentials in the U.K," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(3), pages 413-25, November.
  4. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 1992. "International Wage Curves," NBER Working Papers 4200, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • David G. Blanchflower & Andrew Oswald, 1995. "International Wage Curves," NBER Chapters, in: Differences and Changes in Wage Structures, pages 145-174 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Stewart, Mark B, 1983. "Racial Discrimination and Occupational Attainment in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 93(371), pages 521-41, September.
  6. 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.
  7. Borjas, George J, 1995. "Assimilation and Changes in Cohort Quality Revisited: What Happened to Immigrant Earnings in the 1980s?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 201-45, April.
  8. Friedberg, Rachel M, 2000. "You Can't Take It with You? Immigrant Assimilation and the Portability of Human Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 221-51, April.
  9. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1995. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1278-86, December.
  10. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 1995. "An Introduction to the Wage Curve," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 153-167, Summer.
  11. Bell, Brian D, 1997. "The Performance of Immigrants in the United Kingdom: Evidence from the GHS," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 333-44, March.
  12. Farley, Reynolds, 1990. "Blacks, Hispanics, and White Ethnic Groups: Are Blacks Uniquely Disadvantaged?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 237-41, May.
  13. Harmon, C & Ian Walker, 1995. "Estimates of the economic return to schooling for the UK," IFS Working Papers W95/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  14. Colm Harmon; & Ian Walker, 1995. "Estimates of Economic Return to Schooling in the UK," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n540195, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
  15. Chiswick, Barry R, 1980. "The Earnings of White and Coloured Male Immigrants in Britain," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(185), pages 81-87, February.
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