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The Portability of Human Capital and Immigrant Assimilation: Evidence for Spain

Author

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  • Sanromá, Esteban

    () (University of Barcelona)

  • Ramos, Raul

    () (University of Barcelona)

  • Simón, Hipólito

    () (Universidad de Alicante)

Abstract

The existing literature on immigrant assimilation has highlighted the imperfect portability of human capital acquired by immigrants in their country of origin (Chiswick, 1978; Friedberg, 2000). This would explain the low levels of assimilation upon arrival in the new country, as well as the wide initial earnings gap. Recent studies (Chiswick and Miller, 2007 or Green, Kler and Leeves, 2007, among others) have dealt with this issue from the perspective of over-education. This study analyses the portability of immigrants’ human capital into the Spanish job market according to their geographic origin. It also aims to compare the most notable empirical regularities found in the aforementioned studies with the situation in Spain. The results obtained indicate differing degrees of the transferability of human capital depending on geographic origin, as transferability is greater for countries that are highly developed or have a similar culture or language and lower for developing countries and those with more distant cultures. The evidence is relatively disparate for the two components of human capital as although it is particularly clear for schooling, it is less so for experience. The results also confirm that in Spain immigrants suffer from over-education, in both incidence and intensity, implying a higher relative wage penalty and a greater negative impact on immigrants from the second group of countries. As an immigrant’s stay in Spain advances, a process of assimilation does exist, except for Asians and, in some circumstances, those from Sub-Saharan Africa, though the pace is very slow.

Suggested Citation

  • Sanromá, Esteban & Ramos, Raul & Simón, Hipólito, 2008. "The Portability of Human Capital and Immigrant Assimilation: Evidence for Spain," IZA Discussion Papers 3649, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3649
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cristina Fernández & Carolina Ortega, 2008. "Labor market assimilation of immigrants in Spain: employment at the expense of bad job-matches?," Spanish Economic Review, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 83-107, June.
    2. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2008. "Why is the payoff to schooling smaller for immigrants?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 1317-1340, December.
    3. Esteban Sanromá & Hipólito J. Simón & Raúl Ramos, 2007. "Segregación Laboral Y Estructuras Salariales De Nativos E Inmigrantes En España. Un Análisis Con Datos Emparejados Empresa-Trabajador," Working Papers. Serie EC 2007-03, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
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    Cited by:

    1. Leilanie Basilio & Thomas K. Bauer & Anica Kramer, 2017. "Transferability of Human Capital and Immigrant Assimilation: An Analysis for Germany," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 31(3), pages 245-264, September.
    2. repec:kap:empiri:v:44:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10663-017-9372-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Stefan Jestl & Michael Landesmann & Sandra M. Leitner, 2015. "Migrants and Natives in EU Labour Markets: Mobility and Job-Skill Mismatch Patterns," wiiw Research Reports 403, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    4. repec:taf:edecon:v:25:y:2017:i:5:p:462-481 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Elisabet Motellón & Enrique López-Bazo, 2015. "Job Loss Among Immigrant and Native Workers: Evidence from Spain’s Economic Downturn," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 120(2), pages 345-371, January.
    6. Sanromá, Esteban & Ramos, Raul & Simón, Hipólito, 2009. "Immigrant Wages in the Spanish Labour Market: Does the Origin of Human Capital Matter?," IZA Discussion Papers 4157, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Matloob Piracha & Florin Vadean, 2013. "Migrant educational mismatch and the labor market," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Migration, chapter 9, pages 176-192 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. August Gächter & Stefanie Smoliner, 2010. "How well does education travel? Education and occupation with and without migration," FIW Research Reports series II-010, FIW.
    9. Dustmann, Christian & Glitz, Albrecht, 2011. "Migration and Education," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    10. repec:zbw:rwirep:0164 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:wfo:wstudy:41226 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Nieto, Sandra & Matano, Alessia & Ramos, Raul, 2013. "Skill Mismatches in the EU: Immigrants vs. Natives," IZA Discussion Papers 7701, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Cim, Merve & Kind, Michael Sebastian & Kleibrink, Jan, 2017. "Occupational mismatch of immigrants in Europe: The role of education and cognitive skills," Ruhr Economic Papers 687, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    14. Nicola D. Coniglio & Giuseppe De Arcangelis & Laura Serlenga, 2010. "Return Decisions of Undocumented Migrants: Do Network Effects Help the High‐skilled Overstay?," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 24(s1), pages 93-113, December.
    15. Nicodemo, Catia, 2013. "Immigration and Labor Productivity: New Empirical Evidence for Spain," IZA Discussion Papers 7297, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Peter Huber & Klaus Nowotny & Julia Bock-Schappelwein, 2010. "Qualification Structure, Over- and Under-qualification of the Foreign Born in Austria and the EU," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 41226.
    17. Bonin, Holger, 2017. "The Potential Economic Benefits of Education of Migrants in the EU," IZA Research Reports 75, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Leilanie Basilio & Thomas K. Bauer, 2010. "Transferability of Human Capital and Immigrant Assimilation – An Analysis for Germany," Ruhr Economic Papers 0164, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    19. Gligorov, Vladimir, 2009. "Mobility and Transition in Integrating Europe," MPRA Paper 19198, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Edgard Polanco, 2009. "Asimilación laboral de los inmigrantes colombianos en Estados Unidos," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL ROSARIO, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO, May.
    21. Eleni Kalfa & Matloob Piracha, 2017. "Immigrants’ educational mismatch and the penalty of over-education," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(5), pages 462-481, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    assimilation; immigration; over-education; wages;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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