Migration and the Structure of Manufacturing Production. A View from Italian Provinces
45 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2021
Date Written: November 16, 2020
What is the impact of immigration on the product mix of the receiving economy? To answer this question we exploit variation in the presence of immigrants across Italian provinces within the period 2003-2011. We find that immigration changes the manufacturing output composition of Italian provinces in favour of less capital intensive products, without affecting the total amount of manufacturing production. This result is based on a 2SLS strategy resting on the settlement of immigrants in the pre-sample period and is in line with the predictions of standard trade models concerning the role of factor growth on product specialisation. More specifically, immigrants sustain and deepen Italy’s revealed comparative advantages in labour intensive goods. We thus add to the existing studies finding within-industry adjustments of factor usage in production rather than between-industry output adjustments in response to immigration flows. When searching for the underlying mechanisms driving our result, we discover that a larger share of immigrants promotes the local reshoring of labour intensive productions and fosters the creation of new firms in labour intensive industries.
Keywords: Immigration, Local production structure, Capital intensity
JEL Classification: F22; J61
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