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Legal Status and Immigrants’ Labour Market Outcomes: Comparative Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment in Western and Southern Europe

Ivana Fellini () and Raffaele Guetto ()
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Ivana Fellini: Dipartimento di Sociologia e Ricerca Sociale, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, https://www.unimib.it/ivana-fellini

No 2019_11, Econometrics Working Papers Archive from Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni "G. Parenti"

Abstract: Improved legal status has been found to be associated with better employment chances and higher wages for immigrants, although causal effects remain difficult to ascertain due to severe endogeneity issues. This article contributes to the debate on the "citizenship/legal status premium" in the labour market by providing quasi-experimental evidence based on the 2007 EU Eastern Enlargement, following which immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria, the new EU Member States, exogenously acquired the EU citizen status. The article also contributes to the literature on legal status effects, mainly focused on single-country studies, by comparing "older" destination countries of Western Europe with "newer" ones of Southern Europe. Results show that while improved legal status is associated to higher employment rates in Western European countries, the association is null or even negative in Southern European countries, where immigrants are more strongly urged to be employed. However, improved legal status is more strongly associated with better job quality in Southern Europe, where immigrants are usually segregated in low-skilled jobs. The article concludes that possible effects of improved legal status should be interpreted taking into account the different institutional contexts and models of immigrants’ labour market incorporation.

Keywords: Legal Status; Ethnic penalty; EU enlargement; Labour market; Naturalisation; Southern Europe; Quasi-experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A14 J61 J21 Z13 C10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 42 pages
Date: 2019-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-eur, nep-lab and nep-mig
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