The Labor Market Performance of Immigrants in Germany

Author/Editor: Robert C. M. Beyer
Publication Date: January 21, 2016
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Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate
Summary: The paper uses a large survey (GSOEP) to analyze the labor market performance of immigrants in Germany. It finds that new immigrant workers earn on average 20 percent less than native workers with otherwise identical characteristics. The gap is smaller for immigrants from advanced countries, with good German language skills, and with a German degree, and larger for others. The gap declines gradually over time. Less success in obtaining jobs with higher occupational autonomy explains half of the wage gap. Immigrants are also initially less likely to participate in the labor market and more likely to be unemployed. While participation fully converges after 20 years, immigrants always remain more likely to be unemployed than the native labor force.
Series: Working Paper No. 16/6
Subject(s): Labor markets | Germany | Emigration and immigration | Labor force participation | Foreign labor | Wages | Unemployment | Labor market characteristics

Publication Date: January 21, 2016
ISBN/ISSN: 9781498376112/1018-5941 Format: Paper
Stock No: WPIEA2016006 Pages: 39
US$18.00 (Academic Rate:
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