How does immigration affect natives’ task-specialization? Evidence from the United KingdomISER Internal Seminars

In this paper we assess the impact of immigration in the United Kingdom from a task-based perspective. We empirically test the predictions of Peri and Sparber (2009) model of comparative advantage in tasks performance to evaluate whether less-skilled natives changed their relative provision of tasks in response to increasing immigration inflows of similarly educated workers. Using Labour Force Survey (LFS) and UK Skills Survey data from 1997 through 2006, we find that an increase in the foreign-born share had a significant positive effect on natives’ relative task provision. Results suggest that less educated natives specialise in communication-intensive jobs to protect themselves from competition with immigrants, exploiting their comparative advantage in communication as opposed to manual tasks due to different abilities.
We show that this effect vary across demographic groups, being higher among men, young people and workers with primary (or less) education.

Presented by:

Martina Bisello (University of Pisa)

Date & time:

4 Dec 2013 13:00 pm

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