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Foreign workers and the wage distribution: Where do they fit in?

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  • CHOE Chung
  • VAN KERM Philippe

Abstract

The presence of foreign workers is commonly deemed as driving wage inequality upwards. By 2006, seven in ten private sector workers in Luxembourg were foreign. This note builds on recentered influence function regression methods to identify where these foreign workers stand in the distribution of private sector wages, and assess whether and how much their wages contribute to overall wage inequality. Our analysis of the 2006 Structure of Earnings Survey reveals that foreign workers have generally lower wages than natives and therefore tend to haul the overall wage distribution downwards. Yet, surprizingly, their influence on wage inequality reveals small and negative. All impacts are further muted when accounting for human capital and, especially, job characteristics. Not observing any large positive inequality contribution on the Luxembourg labour market is a striking result given the sheer size of the foreign workforce and its polarization at both ends of the skill distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • CHOE Chung & VAN KERM Philippe, 2014. "Foreign workers and the wage distribution: Where do they fit in?," LISER Working Paper Series 2014-02, Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER).
  • Handle: RePEc:irs:cepswp:2014-02
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    Cited by:

    1. Carpantier, Jean-Francois & Olivera, Javier & Van Kerm, Philippe, 2018. "Macroprudential policy and household wealth inequality," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 262-277.
    2. Arip Muttaqien & Denisa Sologon & Cathal O'Donoghue, 2018. "Earnings polarization, ethnicity, and regional perspective in Indonesia," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2018-106, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Frank Cowell & Brian Nolan & Javier Olivera & Philippe Van Kerm, 2017. "Wealth, Top Incomes and Inequality," LWS Working papers 24, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    4. James B. Davies & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 2017. "Wealth inequality: Theory, measurement and decomposition," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1224-1261, December.
    5. Olivera, Javier, 2019. "The distribution of pension wealth in Europe," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 30-42.
    6. Sergio P. Firpo & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 2018. "Decomposing Wage Distributions Using Recentered Influence Function Regressions," Econometrics, MDPI, vol. 6(2), pages 1-40, May.
    7. SOLOGON Denisa & VAN KERM Philippe, 2014. "Earnings dynamics, foreign workers and the stability of inequality trends in Luxembourg 1988-2009," LISER Working Paper Series 2014-03, Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER).
    8. Arip Muttaqien & Denisa Sologon & Cathal O'Donoghue, 2018. "Earnings polarization, ethnicity, and regional perspective in Indonesia," WIDER Working Paper Series 106, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    9. Vasil I. Yasenov, 2020. "Immigrants and the U.S. Wage Distribution," Upjohn Working Papers 20-320, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    10. VAN KERM Philippe & YU Seunghee & CHOE Chung, 2014. "Wage differentials between native, immigrant and cross-border workers: Evidence and model comparisons," LISER Working Paper Series 2014-05, Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    immigrant wages; wage inequality; cross-border workers; influence function; RIF regression; Luxembourg;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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