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Empirical Findings on the Swiss Migration Experience


  • Golder, Stefan M.

    (affiliation not available)

  • Straubhaar, Thomas

    () (University of Hamburg)


Switzerland has experienced a substantial influx of immigrants over the last 50 years after World War II, which has led Switzerland to have among the highest share of foreigners in population among all OECD countries. This paper analyses the migration experience of Switzerland. The analysis centers around two main issues: the economic effects of migration and the labour market performance of immigrants. Two main results emerge from our study. First, as a result of the shortcomings of the Swiss migration policy, immigrants tend to have a negative impact on the Swiss economy. Second, the analysis of the labour market performance shows that there are substantial discrepancies in the performance between immigrants from different countries of origin. Immigrants from Northern European countries largely outperform immigrants from Southern European and Non-European countries. On the basis of the empirical analysis, this study finally outlines some reform options for the Swiss migration policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Golder, Stefan M. & Straubhaar, Thomas, 1999. "Empirical Findings on the Swiss Migration Experience," IZA Discussion Papers 40, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp40

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gary S. Becker, 1962. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 1-9.
    2. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
    3. Borjas, George J, 1985. "Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 463-489, October.
    4. Golder, Stefan M. & Straubhaar, Thomas, 1998. "Migration to Switzerland: Some New Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 1791, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Borjas, George J, 1993. "The Intergenerational Mobility of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 113-135, January.
    6. Dustmann, C, 1993. "Earnings Adjustment of Temporary Migrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 6(2), pages 153-168, May.
    7. George J. Borjas, 1992. "Ethnic Capital and Intergenerational Mobility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 123-150.
    8. Straubhaar, Thomas & Weber, René, 1994. "Budget Incidence of Immigration into Switzerland: A Cross-Section Analysis of the Public Transfer System," CEPR Discussion Papers 934, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. George J. Borjas, 1991. "Immigration and Self-Selection," NBER Chapters,in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 29-76 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Sherrie A. Kossoudji, 1989. "Immigrant Worker Assimilation: Is It a Labor Market Phenomenon?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(3), pages 494-527.
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    More about this item


    international migration; wage differentials; Factor income distribution; immigrant workers; labor productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • 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
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers


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