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Canadian Immigration Policy and Immigrant Economic Outcomes: Why the Differences in Outcomes between Sweden and Canada?


  • Picot, Garnett

    () (Queen's University)

  • Sweetman, Arthur

    () (McMaster University)


Immigrants to Canada enjoy labour market outcomes that are more favourable than those for their counterparts in Sweden. In an effort to understand these gaps, Canada’s immigration policy and outcomes are contrasted to the Swedish immigration experience. The nature of immigration and structural differences involving the domestic labour markets are hypothesized to provide plausible explanations for at least some of the gap. Additionally, there are dynamic issues related to, for instance, the timing of immigrant entry with respect to the business cycle, and changes in the rates of immigration flows, that may have some impact on labour market outcomes and explain some short- to medium-term aspects of the gap in outcomes. On the other hand, common trends are also observed; both unemployment and earnings outcomes among entering immigrants have deteriorated significantly in Canada since the 1980s, as they have in many western countries including Sweden.

Suggested Citation

  • Picot, Garnett & Sweetman, Arthur, 2011. "Canadian Immigration Policy and Immigrant Economic Outcomes: Why the Differences in Outcomes between Sweden and Canada?," IZA Policy Papers 25, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izapps:pp25

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Aydemir, Abdurrahman & Sweetman, Arthur, 2006. "First and Second Generation Immigrant Educational Attainment and Labor Market Outcomes: A Comparison of the United States and Canada," IZA Discussion Papers 2298, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Abdurrahman Aydemir, 2003. "Effects of Business Cycles on Labour Market Assimilation of Immigrants," Labor and Demography 0309010, EconWPA.
    3. Ana Ferrer & David A. Green & W. Craig Riddell, 2006. "The Effect of Literacy on Immigrant Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(2).
    4. Statistics Canada, 2003. "Will They Ever Converge? Earnings of Immigrants and Canadian-born Workers over the Last Two Decades," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2003215e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    5. Abdurrahman Aydemir & Mikal Skuterud, 2005. "Explaining the deteriorating entry earnings of Canada's immigrant cohorts, 1966 - 2000," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(2), pages 641-672, May.
    6. Antecol, Heather & Kuhn, Peter J. & Trejo, Stephen, 2003. "Assimilation via Prices or Quantities? Labor Market Institutions and Immigrant Earnings Growth in Australia, Canada, and the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 802, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Ana Ferrer & W. Craig Riddell, 2008. "Education, credentials, and immigrant earnings," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(1), pages 186-216, February.
    8. Thomas Liebig, 2009. "Jobs for Immigrants: Labour Market Integration in Norway," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 94, OECD Publishing.
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    Cited by:

    1. Grubel, Herbert & Grady, Patrick, 2012. "Fiscal transfers to immigrants in Canada: responding to critics and a revised estimate," MPRA Paper 37406, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 06 Mar 2012.
    2. Yigit Aydede & Atul Dar, 2017. "Is the lower return to immigrants’ foreign schooling a postarrival problem in Canada?," IZA Journal of Migration, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 6(1), pages 1-25, December.
    3. Ana M. Ferrer & Garnett Picot & William Craig Riddell, 2014. "New Directions in Immigration Policy: Canada's Evolving Approach to the Selection of Economic Immigrants," International Migration Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 846-867, September.
    4. Bernt Bratsberg & Torbjørn Hægeland & Oddbjørn Raaum, 2013. "Immigrant skills and employment. Cross-country evidence from the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey," Discussion Papers 730, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    5. Ulf Rinne, 2013. "The evaluation of immigration policies," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Migration, chapter 28, pages 530-552 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item


    immigration; cross-country differences; Canada; Sweden;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy

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