Essays in immigration economics -PhD thesis-

Publication type

Thesis/Degree/Other Honours


Publication date

June 1, 2021


Existing UK evidence shows for men heterogeneous and often large first-generation immigrant-native wage differentials across major immigrant groups. In contrast to this existing literature, I extend the measurement of workers' personal characteristics in a Mincer wage regression by accounting for their source of human capital, non-random local labor market selection and English language proficiency. Including these rich characteristics from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS), I reduce the potential for estimation bias in first-generation wage differentials across all major immigrant groups. The current UK literature further states intergenerational progress across the first and second generation of immigrants. I conclude that little progress takes place, as measured by the mean wage differential, mainly due the fact that the first generation fares very well once more observable characteristics are controlled for. Non-UK literature studies the question whether immigrants who enter the labor market during a recession have worse future economic outcomes as measured by labor market status and wages than immigrants who enter during a period of economic boom. The question also arises whether these effects are of permanent nature. I confirm with UK data that immigrants as a group experience adverse but non-permanent effects as a consequence of labor market entry during recessions. All research in this context treats immigrants as a homogeneous group. In contrast, I further contribute to the UK literature by using the UK Labour Force Survey and by defining two distinct groups of immigrants: one with a high degree of human capital transferability (HHCT), and the other with a low degree of human capital transferability (LHCT). As for labor market status, the LHCT group is more responsive to regional economic downturns than the HHCT group. Finally, I find with the UKHLS that second-generation immigrants' employment, unemployment, and wage outcomes are more sensitive to changes in local authority district unemployment than those of natives.






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