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Occupational Sorting and Wage Gaps of Refugees


  • Baum, Christopher F.
  • Lööf, Hans
  • Stephan, Andreas
  • Zimmermann, Klaus F.


Refugee workers start low and adjust slowly to the wages of comparable natives. The innovative approach in this study using unique Swedish employeremployee data shows that the observed wage gap between established refugees and comparable natives is mainly caused by occupational sorting into cognitive and manual tasks. Within occupations, it can be largely explained by differences in work experience. The identification strategy relies on a control group of matched natives with the same characteristics as the refugees, using panel data for 2003–2013 to capture unobserved heterogeneity.

Suggested Citation

  • Baum, Christopher F. & Lööf, Hans & Stephan, Andreas & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2020. "Occupational Sorting and Wage Gaps of Refugees," GLO Discussion Paper Series 562, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:562

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    More about this item


    refugees; wage earnings gap; Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition; employer-employee data; coarsened exact matching; correlated random effects model;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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