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Do Migrants Lower Workplace Wages?


  • White, Michael

    () (Policy Studies Institute)

  • Bryson, Alex

    () (University College London)


Using nationally representative workplace data for Britain we identify the partial correlation between workplace wages and the percentage of migrants employed at a workplace. We find wages are lower in workplaces employing a higher percentage of migrants, but only when those migrants are non-EEA migrants. However, the effects are no longer apparent when we condition on the ethnic complexion of employees at the workplace. Instead, the wage penalty is attached to the percentage of non-white employees, a finding that is consistent with employer discrimination on grounds of race, or lower worker bargaining power when employees are ethnically diverse.

Suggested Citation

  • White, Michael & Bryson, Alex, 2017. "Do Migrants Lower Workplace Wages?," IZA Discussion Papers 10549, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10549

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-553, September.
    2. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 9755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1335-1374.
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    More about this item


    migrants; migration; ethnicity; race; wages; earnings; low pay; discrimination;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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