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The Working Hours of Immigrants in Germany: Temporary versus Permanent


  • Kahanec, Martin

    () (Central European University)

  • Shields, Michael P.

    () (Central Michigan University)


Migration is often viewed as an investment decision. Temporary migrants can be expected to invest less in accumulating human capital specific to the host country. Instead, they work more hours in order to accumulate savings and invest in financial capital that can be transferred back to their country of origin upon return. In this paper, using German panel data, we explore how temporary migrants differ from permanent migrants in their labor supply decisions and behavior. Upon correcting for endogeneity bias, temporary migrants are found to work more hours than permanent ones. This result supports the human capital theory and a household production model of migration where migrants may be temporary by choice and not because of legal restrictions or even a bad experience in the labor market.

Suggested Citation

  • Kahanec, Martin & Shields, Michael P., 2010. "The Working Hours of Immigrants in Germany: Temporary versus Permanent," IZA Discussion Papers 4735, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4735

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Amelie F. Constant & Rowan Roberts & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2009. "Ethnic Identity and Immigrant Homeownership," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 46(9), pages 1879-1898, August.
    2. Bellemare, Charles, 2007. "A life-cycle model of outmigration and economic assimilation of immigrants in Germany," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 553-576, April.
    3. Dean Yang, 2008. "International Migration, Remittances and Household Investment: Evidence from Philippine Migrants' Exchange Rate Shocks," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(528), pages 591-630, April.
    4. Amin, Mohammad & Mattoo, Aaditya, 2005. "Does temporary migration have to be permanent?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3582, The World Bank.
    5. 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.
    6. Dustmann, Christian & Schmidt, Christoph M., 2000. "The Wage Performance of Immigrant Women: Full-Time Jobs, Part-Time Jobs, and the Role of Selection," IZA Discussion Papers 233, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. István Kónya, 2007. "Optimal Immigration and Cultural Assimilation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 367-391.
    8. Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-846, September.
    9. Dustmann, Christian, 2000. "Temporary Migration and Economic Assimilation," IZA Discussion Papers 186, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Jaan Masso & Raul Eamets & Pille Mõtsmees, 2013. "The Effect of Temporary Migration Experience on Occupational Mobility in Estonia," CESifo Working Paper Series 4322, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Peter Kuhn & Kailing Shen, 2015. "Do employers prefer migrant workers? Evidence from a Chinese job board," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-31, December.
    3. Kahanec, Martin, 2012. "Report No. 49: Skilled Labor Flows: Lessons from the European Union," IZA Research Reports 49, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Fertig, Michael & Kahanec, Martin, 2013. "Mobility in an Enlarging European Union: Projections of Potential Flows from EU's Eastern Neighbors and Croatia," IZA Discussion Papers 7634, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Jaan Masso & Raul Eamets & Pille Mõtsmees, 2013. "The Effect Of Migration Experience On Occupational Mobility In Estonia," University of Tartu - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Working Paper Series 92, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu (Estonia).
    6. Kahanec, Martin, 2013. "Skilled labor flows : lessons from the European Union," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 75529, The World Bank.
    7. Michael Fertig & Martin Kahanec, 2015. "Projections of potential flows to the enlarging EU from Ukraine, Croatia and other Eastern neighbors," IZA Journal of Migration, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-27, December.

    More about this item


    labor supply; Germany; migration; temporary migrants;

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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