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Does it matter why immigrants came here? Original motives, the labour market, and national identity in the UK

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  • Stuart Campbell

    (Department of Quantitative Social Science, Institute of Education)

Abstract

The importance of the original motives for migration has often been asserted in the economics of migration literature, but direct measures of such motives have seldom been included in empirical models of immigrant outcomes. For the first time, I am able to directly identify work, student, family, and refugee immigrants in a large UK survey dataset. Using a sample of immigrants who have been in the country for at least five years, I show that original motives are strong predictors of employment, wages, and uptake of the native national identity. On employment and wages, I find that those who originally came as work or student immigrants are the most successful, while family immigrants do less well, and refugees fare the worst. On national identity, I find that those who originally came as refugees and family immigrants are the most likely to identify as British, while work and student immigrants are the least. My results provide new support for the predictions of the human capital model of migration in both the economic and cultural spheres, as well as for the recent 'cultural distance' model of national identity proposed by Manning and Roy. I suggest that the flexibility of the British national concept may usefully support multiculturalism, but that the pursuit of such abstract national adherence should not detract from efforts to cultivate social and economic inclusion among immigrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Stuart Campbell, 2014. "Does it matter why immigrants came here? Original motives, the labour market, and national identity in the UK," DoQSS Working Papers 14-14, Quantitative Social Science - UCL Social Research Institute, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:qss:dqsswp:1414
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    immigration; labour markets; wages; national identity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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