Which Factors Drive the Skill-Mix of Migrants in the Long-Run?

University of Zurich, Department of Economics, Working Paper No. 182

50 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2014

See all articles by Andreas Beerli

Andreas Beerli

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Ronald Indergand

University of Bern

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 1, 2014

Abstract

A pervasive, yet little acknowledged feature of international migration to developed countries is that newly arriving immigrants are increasingly highly skilled since the 1980s. This paper analyses the determinants of changes in the skill composition of immigrants using a framework suggested by Grogger & Hanson (2011). We focus on Switzerland, which continuously showed very high immigration rates and dramatic changes in the skill composition of immigrants. In addition, the recent integration of Switzerland into the European labour market in 2002 serves as a policy experiment which allows analysing the influence of a reduction on immigration restrictions on immigrants from European countries in comparison to those from other countries. Our findings suggest that changes of education supply in origin countries and shifts to the relative demand for education groups stand out as the two most important drivers. Yet, while supply alone predicts only a modest increase in the case of highly educated workers and a large increase of middle educated workers, one particular demand channel, the polarisation of labour demand induced by the adoption of computer capital, is crucial to explain the sharp increase in highly educated workers and the mere stabilisation of the share of middle educated immigrant workers. The abolition of quotas for EU residents played a smaller role, yet may have slightly reduced the high skill share among immigrants relative to immigrants from other countries.

Keywords: International migration, self selection, migration policy, job polarisation

JEL Classification: F22, J61, J24, J31

Suggested Citation

Beerli, Andreas and Indergand, Ronald, Which Factors Drive the Skill-Mix of Migrants in the Long-Run? (December 1, 2014). University of Zurich, Department of Economics, Working Paper No. 182, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2533091 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2533091

Andreas Beerli (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Z├╝rich
Switzerland

Ronald Indergand

University of Bern ( email )

Gesellschaftsstrasse 49
Bern, BERN 3001
Switzerland

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
41
Abstract Views
516
PlumX Metrics