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Can education bridge the gap? Education and the employment position of immigrants in Belgium

Vincent Corluy and Gerlinde Verbist

No 14/02, ImPRovE Working Papers from Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp

Abstract: The employment rates of non-EU immigrants compared to natives in Belgium continue to be low. In this chapter we examine whether differences in educational attainments offer an adequate explanation for these persisting labour market disadvantages. We decompose the gap in labour market outcomes between immigrants and natives, using the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition method. The decomposition shows that for EU born immigrants three quarters of the gap can be attributed to differences in the observed, socio-economic characteristics between the two populations. For non-EU born immigrants, the differences in observed characteristics with natives can account for around one third of the gap. Although the explanatory power of our model remains limited for this group, substantial increases in the effect of observed characteristics are found over the last fifteen years. A detailed decomposition shows that lower educational levels, larger families and diverse regional settlement can, at least partly, explain the lower labour market attachment of non-EU born immigrants. Over the period in focus, the impact of differences in educational level between immigrants and natives has significantly grown, indicating a declining socio-economic profile of more recent immigrants as compared with natives.

Keywords: Employment rate gap; education; immigrants; Belgium (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I32 J21 J68 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-eur and nep-mig
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