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Immigration, education and the labour market

For more than 50 years, immigration to Sweden has been considerable. The share of foreign born in the population is today high in an international comparison. There are two big questions in the research on immigration and the labour market.

How do things work out for those who immigrate and what affects their establishment?

The research often takes its starting point in human capital theory. It predicts that immigrants will initially have a weaker position due to the lack of language skills, for example, but that there is a decrease in the differences over time. There is an extensive literature that studies what these patterns have looked like in different countries and different periods of time.

Another question that has often been studied is whether discrimination leads to individuals with a foreign background also running a higher risk of unemployment and having lower wages in the long run. Other studies focus on what roles segregation and ethnical networks play for economic integration or how different introductory and labour market policy measures affect the establishment on the labour market.

What are the effects on other employees and society as a whole?

How immigration affects for example wages and employment depends on whether immigrants compete with or serve as complements to those who already exist on the labour market. Wage formation can be affected, in particular in those lines of business and professions with many immigrants. But immigration can also contribute to an increase in investments, which may also lead to an increase in employment. Regulations for international mobility, for example the extension of the EU, are also of importance for how the labour market works for different occupational groups.

Contact: Olof Åslund

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Published by:

Jörgen Moen

Changed:

1/10/2020