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Differences in work conditions between natives and immigrants: preferences vs. outside employment opportunities

Abstract : Immigrants are disproportionately employed in agriculture and construction, sectors with relatively high injury rates. What pushes immigrants to accept riskier and more strenuous work conditions? We propose a circular model and show that differences in average work conditions borne by natives and immigrants are driven by both preferences and unearned income. Using French data we find that, in line with the model’s predictions, (i) rigid wages are associated with a larger immigrant-native gap in work conditions; (ii) high unearned income individuals benefit on average from better work conditions; (iii) for immigrants and natives with high unearned income, differences in demographic characteristics explain part of the immigrant-native gap in work conditions. In contrast, the gap largely persists among low unearned income people even once we have imposed identical demographic composition among them. This suggests that there must be other factors that influence preferences over work conditions and that are missing in our empirical analysis.
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Submitted on : Monday, February 8, 2021 - 6:38:04 PM
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Eva Moreno Galbis. Differences in work conditions between natives and immigrants: preferences vs. outside employment opportunities. European Economic Review, Elsevier, 2020, 130, pp.103586. ⟨10.1016/j.euroecorev.2020.103586⟩. ⟨hal-03109878⟩

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