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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Hunt, Priscillia, 2008. "Are immigrants so stuck to the floor that the ceiling is irrelevant?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 838, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:838

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. José-Ignacio Antón & Rafael Muñoz de Bustillo, 2009. "Immigration And Discrimination In A Former Emigrant Country: The Case Of Spain," Working Papers 2009.2, International Network for Economic Research - INFER.
    2. Antón, José-Ignacio & Carrera, Miguel & Muñoz de Bustillo, Rafael, 2009. "How are you doing in your grandpa’s country? Labour market performance of Latin American immigrants in Spain," MPRA Paper 15051, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Anees, Muhammad & Sajjad, Muhammad & Ahmed, Ishfaq, 2011. "A counterfactual decomposition analysis of immigrants-natives earnings in Malaysia," Economics Discussion Papers 2011-51, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    4. José-Ignacio Antón & Rafael Muñoz de Bustillo & Miguel Carrera, 2010. "From guests to hosts: immigrant-native wage differentials in Spain," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 31(6), pages 645-659, September.
    5. Muñoz de Bustillo, Rafael & Carrera, Miguel & Antón, José-Ignacio, 2009. "From guests to hosts: a first whole picture of immigrant-native wage differentials in Spain," MPRA Paper 13928, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    immigration ; wage differential ; quantile regression ; Blinder-Oaxaca ; decomposition;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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