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The impact of immigration on the wage distribution in Switzerland


  • Sandro Favre


Recent immigrants in Switzerland are overrepresented at the top of the wage distribution in high and at the bottom in low skill occupations. Basic economic theory thus suggests that immigration has led to a compression of the wage distribution in the former group and to an expansion in the latter. The data confirm this proposition for high skill occupations, but reveal effects close to zero for low skill occupations. While the estimated wage effects are of considerable magnitude at the tails of the wage distribution in high skill occupations, the effects on overall inequality are shown to be negligible.

Suggested Citation

  • Sandro Favre, 2011. "The impact of immigration on the wage distribution in Switzerland," ECON - Working Papers 022, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:022

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael Gerfin & Boris Kaiser, 2010. "The Effects of Immigration on Wages: An Application of the Structural Skill-Cell Approach," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 146(IV), pages 709-739, December.
    2. Rachel M. Friedberg, 2001. "The Impact of Mass Migration on the Israeli Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1373-1408.
    3. Yannis M. Ioannides & Linda Datcher Loury, 2004. "Job Information Networks, Neighborhood Effects, and Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1056-1093, December.
    4. Christian Dustmann & Tommaso Frattini & Ian P. Preston, 2013. "The Effect of Immigration along the Distribution of Wages," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(1), pages 145-173.
    5. Christian Dustmann & Albrecht Glitz & Tommaso Frattini, 2008. "The labour market impact of immigration," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(3), pages 478-495, Autumn.
    6. Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2016. "Rethinking The Effect Of Immigration On Wages," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Economics of International Migration, chapter 2, pages 35-80 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    7. Ethan Lewis, 2003. "Local, open economies within the U.S.: how do industries respond to immigration?," Working Papers 04-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Graff & Massimo Mannino & Michael Siegenthaler, 2014. "The Swiss "Job Miracle"," KOF Working papers 14-368, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    2. Andreas Beerli & Giovanni Peri, 2015. "The Labor Market Effects of Opening the Border: New Evidence from Switzerland," NBER Working Papers 21319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Oscar Afonso & Susana Gabriel & Pedro Mazeda Gil, 2016. "Could immigration explain wage inequality in a skill-biased technological model?," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 43(3), pages 559-577, August.
    4. Marco Pecoraro & Didier Ruedin, 2016. "A Foreigner Who Does Not Steal My Job: The Role of Unemployment Risk and Values in Attitudes toward Equal Opportunities," International Migration Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 628-666, September.

    More about this item


    Immigration; wage distribution; occupation groups; inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • 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

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