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Do as the Neighbors Do: The Impact of Social Networks on Immigrant Employment

Author

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  • Andersson, Fredrik

    (Lund University)

  • Burgess, Simon

    (University of Bristol)

  • Lane, Julia

    (New York University)

Abstract

Substantial immigrant segregation in the United States, combined with the increase in the share of the U.S. foreign-born population, have led to great interest in the causes and consequences of immigrant concentration, including those related to the functioning of labor markets. This paper provides robust evidence that both the size and the quality of an immigrant enclave affects the labor market outcomes of new immigrants. We develop new measures of the quality, or information value, of immigrant networks by exploiting data based on worker earnings records matched to firm and Census information. We demonstrate the importance of immigrant employment links: network members are much more likely than other immigrants to be employed in the same firm as their geographic neighbors. Immigrants living with large numbers of employed neighbors are more likely to have jobs than immigrants in areas with fewer employed neighbors. The effects are quantitatively important and robust under alternative specifications. For example, in a high value network – one with an average employment rate in the 90th percentile – a one standard deviation increase in the log of the number of contacts in the network is associated with almost a 5% increase in the employment rate. Earnings, conditional on employment, increase by about 0.7%.

Suggested Citation

  • Andersson, Fredrik & Burgess, Simon & Lane, Julia, 2009. "Do as the Neighbors Do: The Impact of Social Networks on Immigrant Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 4423, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4423
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln, 2015. "Skilled Immigration and the Employment Structures of US Firms," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(S1), pages 147-186.
    2. Sergio Vergalli, 2011. "Entry and Exit Strategies in Migration Dynamics," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 32(4), pages 362-389, December.
    3. Damm, Anna Piil, 2014. "Neighborhood quality and labor market outcomes: Evidence from quasi-random neighborhood assignment of immigrants," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 139-166.
    4. Riccardo Faini & Steiner Strom & Alessandra Venturini & Claudia Villosio, 2009. "Are Foreign Migrants more Assimilated than Native Ones?," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 96, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
    5. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Lene Kromann, 2014. "Differences in the labor market entry of second-generation immigrants and ethnic Danes," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-22, December.
    6. Ainhoa Aparicio, 2011. "Network Effects on Migrants' Remittances," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 202, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    7. Damm, Anna Piil, 2014. "Neighborhood quality and labor market outcomes: Evidence from quasi-random neighborhood assignment of immigrants," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 139-166.
    8. Julia Beckhusen & Raymond J.G.M. Florax & Thomas Graaff & Jacques Poot & Brigitte Waldorf, 2013. "Living and working in ethnic enclaves: English Language proficiency of immigrants in US metropolitan areas," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 92(2), pages 305-328, June.
    9. Beckhusen, Julia & Florax, Raymond J.G.M. & de Graaff, Thomas & Poot, Jacques & Waldorf, Brigitte, 2012. "Living and Working in Ethnic Enclaves: Language Proficiency of Immigrants in U.S. Metropolitan Areas," IZA Discussion Papers 6363, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Strom, Steinar & Venturini, Alessandra & Villosio, Claudia, 2013. "Wage Assimilation: Migrants versus Natives and Foreign Migrants versus Internal Migrants," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201341, University of Turin.
    11. Anna Piil Damm, 2012. "Neighborhood quality and labor market outcomes: evidence from quasi-random neighborhood assignment of immigrants," Working Papers 2012/22, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    12. Luisa Alamá-Sabater & Maite Alguacil & Joan Serafí Bernat-Martí, 2014. "Location determinants of migrant inflows: The Spanish case?," Working Papers 2014/07, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).
    13. Johan Klaesson & Özge Öner, 2021. "Ethnic enclaves and segregation—self-employment and employment patterns among forced migrants," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 56(3), pages 985-1006, February.
    14. Yves Zenou, 2013. "Social Interactions and the Labor Market," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, vol. 123(3), pages 307-331.
    15. Elsner, Benjamin & Narciso, Gaia & Thijssen, Jacco J. J., 2013. "Migrant Networks and the Spread of Misinformation," IZA Discussion Papers 7863, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Del Bello, Carlo L. & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2015. "Neighborhood Effects in Education," IZA Discussion Papers 8956, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Öner, Özge & Klaesson, Johan, 2018. "Ethnic Enclaves and Labor Market Outcomes – What Matters Most: Neighborhood, City or Region?," Working Paper Series 1251, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    social networks; immigrant enclaves; labor market intermediaries;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General

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