The Fallacy of 'Job Robbing': A Meta-Analysis of Estimates of the Effect of Immigration on Employment

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper No. 06-050/3

24 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2006

See all articles by Simonetta Longhi

Simonetta Longhi

University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Tinbergen Institute

Peter Nijkamp

VU University of Amsterdam - Department of Spatial Economics; Tinbergen Institute - Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam (TIA)

Jacques Poot

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Spatial Economics; University of Waikato - National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis; Motu Economic and Public Policy Research; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: May 2006

Abstract

Immigration is a phenomenon of growing significance in many countries. Increasing social tensions are leading to political pressure to limit a further influx of foreign-born persons on the grounds that the absorption capacity of host countries has been exceeded and social cohesion threatened. There is also in public discourse a common perception of immigration resulting in economic costs, particularly with respect to wages and employment opportunities of the native born. This warrants a scientific assessment, using comparative applied research, of the empirical validity of the perception of a negative impact of immigration on labour market outcomes. Applying meta-analytic techniques to 165 estimates from 9 recent studies for various OECD countries, we assess in this paper whether immigration leads to job displacement among native workers. The consensus estimate of the decline in native-born employment following a 1 percent increase in the number of immigrants is a mere 0.024 percent. However, the impact is somewhat larger on female than on male employment. The negative employment effect is also greater in Europe than in the United States. Furthermore, the results are sensitive to the choice of the study design. For example, failure to control for endogeneity of immigration itself leads to an underestimate of its employment impact.

Keywords: spatial autocorrelation, spatial filtering, unemployment, Germany

JEL Classification: C14, C21, C23, R23

Suggested Citation

Longhi, Simonetta and Nijkamp, Peter and Poot, Jacques, The Fallacy of 'Job Robbing': A Meta-Analysis of Estimates of the Effect of Immigration on Employment (May 2006). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper No. 06-050/3. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=907025 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.907025

Simonetta Longhi (Contact Author)

University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

Peter Nijkamp

VU University of Amsterdam - Department of Spatial Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
1081HV Amsterdam
Netherlands
+31 20 4446091 (Phone)
+31 20 4445611 (Fax)

Tinbergen Institute - Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam (TIA)

Gustav Mahlerplein 117
Amsterdam, 1082 MS
Netherlands

Jacques Poot

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Spatial Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
1081HV Amsterdam
Netherlands

University of Waikato - National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis ( email )

Te Raupapa
Private Bag 3105
Hamilton, 3240
New Zealand

Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

Level 1, 93 Cuba Street
P.O. Box 24390
Wellington, 6142
New Zealand

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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