The Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market

27 Pages Posted: 28 May 2020

See all articles by Anthony Edo

Anthony Edo

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Date Written: July 2019


The literature on the impact of immigration on the labor market is highly controversial. The aim of this paper is to review the existing literature and draw some general conclusions on how wages and employment respond to immigration. Economic studies indicate that the impact of immigration on the average wage and employment of native workers is null or slightly positive. However, because adjustments take time, the immediate labor market effects of unexpected (as opposed to expected) migration episodes can be detrimental. Immigration also can have distributional consequences. In particular, the skill composition of immigrants matters in determining their impact on native labor market outcomes. An inflow of immigrants will tend to reduce the wages of competing native workers (with skills similar to those of the migrants), and increase those of complementary workers (with skills that complement those of immigrants). By affecting the skill composition of the workforce, immigration can create winners and losers among native workers via changes in the wage structure.

Keywords: Immigration, Immigration economics, Labor market

JEL Classification: D72, E62, F22, H62, J15

Suggested Citation

Edo, Anthony, The Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market (July 2019). Journal of Economic Surveys, Vol. 33, Issue 3, pp. 922-948, 2019, Available at SSRN: or

Anthony Edo (Contact Author)

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

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Paris, 75014 75014

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