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Why to employ both migrants and natives? A study on task-specific substitutability

  • Anette Haas

    ()

    (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB))

  • Michael Lucht

    ()

    (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB))

  • Norbert Schanne

    ()

    (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB))

This paper analyzes the performance of migrants on the German labor market and its dependence on the tasks performed on their jobs. Recent work suggests quantifying the imperfect substitutability relationship between migrants and natives as a measure for the hurdles migrants have to face. Our theoretical work adopts that migrant shares are very heterogeneous across firms which is hard to reconcile with an aggregate production function. We argue that the ability to integrate migrants may form a competitive advantage for firms. We show in a Melitz-type framework that the output reaction to wage changes varies across firms. Hence, substitution elasticities of an aggregate production function can be quite different from those individual firms are faced with. Finally we estimate elasticities of substitution for different aggregate CES-nested production functions for Germany between 1993 and 2008 using administrative data and taking into account the task approach. We find significant variation in the substitutability between migrants and natives across qualification levels and tasks. We show that especially interactive tasks seem to impose hurdles for migrants on the German labor market.

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Paper provided by Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London in its series Norface Discussion Paper Series with number 2012026.

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Date of creation: Aug 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nor:wpaper:2012026
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