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Accounting for big-city growth in low-paid occupations: immigration and/or service-class consumption

Ian R. Gordon and Ioannis Kaplanis ()

LSE Research Online Documents on Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library

Abstract: The growth of “global cities” in the 1980s was supposed to have involved an occupational polarization, including the increase in low-paid service jobs. Although held to be untrue for European cities at the time, some such growth did emerge in London a decade later than first reported for New York. The question is whether there was simply a delay before London conformed to the global city model or whether another distinct cause was at work in both cases. This article proposes that the critical factor in both cases was actually an upsurge of immigration from poor countries that provided an elastic supply of cheap labor. This hypothesis and its counterpart based on the growth in elite jobs are tested econometrically for the British case with regional data spanning 1975–2008, finding some support for both effects, but with immigration from poor countries as the crucial influence in late 1990s London.

Keywords: polarization; global cities thesis; migrant labor; labor markets; London; wages; untraded services (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N0 R14 J01 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his and nep-ure
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Published in Economic Geography, January, 2014, 90(1), pp. 67-90. ISSN: 0013-0095

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Related works:
Journal Article: Accounting for Big-City Growth in Low-Paid Occupations: Immigration and/or Service-Class Consumption (2014) Downloads
Journal Article: Accounting for Big-City Growth in Low-Paid Occupations: Immigration and/or Service-Class Consumption (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: Accounting for Big City Growth in Low Paid Occupations: Immigration and/or Service Class Consumption (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: Accounting for big city growth in low paid occupations: immigration and/or service class consumption (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: Accounting for Big City Growth in Low Paid Occupations: Immigration and/or Service Class Consumption (2012) Downloads
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