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Are immigrants so stuck to the floor that the ceiling is irrelevant?

  • Hunt, Priscillia

    (University of Warwick)

In this paper, the immigrant-native wage differential is explained through quantile regression estimations. Using repeated cross-sections of the British Labour Force Survey from 1993-2005, we analyse the returns to covariates across the conditional earnings distribution. We estimate a pooled model with an immigrant dummy and separate models for immigrants and natives of the UK. Our results show that the positive wage gap in favour of immigrants is attributed to those at higher quantiles. Returns to education and experience vary wider for natives than for immigrants. We decompose the wage gap in the Blinder-Oaxaca framework and apply quantile regression techniques to see if immigrants simply have more viable labour market characteristics than natives or if there is a preference for immigrant workers (reverse discrimination). Our findings suggest immigrants should actually be earning more and there is sufficient evidence of discrimination. This finding is, however, not symmetric across the conditional wage distribution and immigrants atthe bottom face more discrimination than those at the top.

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File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2008/twerp_838.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 838.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:838
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  1. Harald Bauder, 2006. "Origin, employment status and attitudes towards work: immigrants in Vancouver, Canada," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 20(4), pages 709-729, December.
  2. Giovanni Peri & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2005. "Rethinking the Gains from Immigration: Theory and Evidence from the U.S," Working Papers 58, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  3. Sokbae Lee, 2004. "Endogeneity in quantile regression models: a control function approach," CeMMAP working papers CWP08/04, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. José Ferreira Machado & José Mata, 1998. "Earning Functions in Portugal 1982-1994: Evidence From Quantile Regressions," Working Papers w199802, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  5. Koenker,Roger, 2005. "Quantile Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521845731, June.
  6. Cotton, Jeremiah, 1988. "On the Decomposition of Wage Differentials," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(2), pages 236-43, May.
  7. Kristin F. Butcher & John DiNardo, 1998. "The Immigrant and Native-born Wage Distributions: Evidence from United States Censuses," NBER Working Papers 6630, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Melly, Blaise, 2005. "Decomposition of differences in distribution using quantile regression," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 577-590, August.
  9. Christian Dustmann & Francesca Fabbri, 2005. "Immigrants in the British Labour Market," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0507, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  10. Hurst, Michael E. & Chiswick, Barry R., 2000. "The Employment, Unemployment and Unemployment Compensation Benefits of Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 129, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Ronald L. Oaxaca & Michael R. Ransom, 1999. "Identification in Detailed Wage Decompositions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 154-157, February.
  12. Green, Francis & Machin, Stephen & Wilkinson, David, 1998. "The Meaning and Determinants of Skills Shortages," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 60(2), pages 165-87, May.
  13. Chiswick, Barry R. & Le, Anh T. & Miller, Paul W., 2006. "How Immigrants Fare Across the Earnings Distribution: International Analyses," IZA Discussion Papers 2405, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. George J. Borjas, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 2248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. James Albrecht & Anders Bjorklund & Susan Vroman, 2003. "Is There a Glass Ceiling in Sweden?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 145-177, January.
  16. Chiswick, Barry R, 1980. "The Earnings of White and Coloured Male Immigrants in Britain," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(185), pages 81-87, February.
  17. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1995. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1278-86, December.
  18. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
  19. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
  20. Clark, Ken & Lindley, Joanne, 2006. "Immigrant Labour Market Assimilation and Arrival Effects: Evidence from the UK Labour Force Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 2228, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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