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Labor-Market Exposure as a Determinant of Attitudes toward Immigration

Listed author(s):
  • Ortega, Francesc

    ()

    (Queens College, CUNY)

  • Polavieja, Javier G.

    ()

    (IMDEA)

This paper re-examines the role of labor-market competition as a determinant of attitudes toward immigration. We claim two main contributions. First, we use more sophisticated measures of the degree of exposure to competition from immigrants than previously done. Specifically, we focus on the protection derived from investments in job-specific human capital and from specialization in communication-intensive jobs, in addition to formal education. Second, we explicitly account for the potential endogeneity arising from job search. Methodologically, we estimate, by instrumental variables, an econometric model that allows for heterogeneity at the individual, regional, and country level. Drawing on the 2004 European Social Survey, we obtain three main results. First, our estimates show that individuals that are currently employed in less exposed jobs are relatively more pro-immigration. This is true for both our new measures of exposure. Second, we show that the protection granted by job-specific human capital is clearly distinct from the protection granted by formal education. Yet the positive effect of education on pro-immigration attitudes is greatly reduced when we control for the degree of communication intensity of respondents' occupations. Third, OLS estimates are biased in a direction that suggests that natives respond to immigration by switching to less exposed jobs. The latter finding provides indirect support for the endogenous job specialization hypothesis postulated by Peri and Sparber (2009).

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4519.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Publication status: published in: Labour Economics, 2012, 19 (3), 298-311
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4519
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  1. Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2001. "Labor Market Competition And Individual Preferences Over Immigration Policy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 133-145, February.
  2. Ortega Francesc, 2010. "Immigration, Citizenship, and the Size of Government," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-40, March.
  3. Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2006. "Technical Change, Job Tasks, and Rising Educational Demands: Looking outside the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 235-270, April.
  4. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2008. "Task Specialization, Immigration, and Wages," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0802, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  5. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2000. "Do Immigrant Inflows Lead to Native Outflows?," NBER Working Papers 7578, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. George J. Borjas & Lynette Hilton, 1996. "Immigration and the Welfare State: Immigrant Participation in Means-Tested Entitlement Programs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 575-604.
  7. Christian Dustmann & Ian Preston, 2000. "Racial and Economic Factors in Attitudes to Immigration," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0839, Econometric Society.
  8. Anna Maria Mayda, 2004. "Who is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants," Development Working Papers 187, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
  9. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2006. "The Polarization of the U.S. Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 11986, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. González, Libertad & Ortega, Francesc, 2011. "How do very open economies adjust to large immigration flows? Evidence from Spanish regions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 57-70, January.
  11. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  12. Lidia Farre & Libertad Gonzalez & Francesc Ortega, 2009. "Immigration, Family Responsibilities and the Labor Supply of Skilled Native Women," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0916, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  13. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2002. "Upstairs, Downstairs: Computers and Skills on Two Floors of a Large Bank," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(3), pages 432-447, April.
  14. David Card, 2005. "Is the New Immigration Really so Bad?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(507), pages 300-323, November.
  15. David Card & Christian Dustmann & Ian Preston, 2005. "Understanding attitudes to immigration: The migration and minority module of the first European Social Survey," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0503, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  16. Facchini, Giovanni & Mayda, Maria, 2007. "Does the Welfare State Affect Individual Attitudes towards Immigrants? Evidence Across Countries," Economics Discussion Papers 8915, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  17. Francesco D'Amuri & Giovanni Peri, 2011. "Immigration, Jobs and Employment Protection: Evidence from Europe," NBER Working Papers 17139, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1279-1333.
  19. Jens Hainmueller & Michael J. Hiscox, 2005. "Educated Preferences: Explaining Attitudes Toward Immigration in Europe," Others 0505013, EconWPA.
  20. Assaf Razin & Effraim Sadka & Phillip Swagel, 1998. "Tax Burden and Migration: A Political Economy Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 6734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Personnel Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121883, December.
  22. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Richard Sinnott, 2004. "The Determinants of Individual Attitudes Towards Immigration," Trinity Economics Papers 20042, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  23. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning & Anna Salomons, 2009. "Job Polarization in Europe," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 58-63, May.
  24. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & de la Rica, Sara, 2009. "Complements or Substitutes? Task Specialization by Gender and Nativity in Spain," IZA Discussion Papers 4348, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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