English title: Labor-market exposure as a determinant of attitudes toward immigration

Author(s): Francesc Ortega - Javier Polavieja -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2012

Abstract

This paper re-examines the role of labor-market competition as a determinant of attitudes toward immigration. We claim two main contributions. First, we use more sophisticated measures of the degree of exposure to competition from immigrants than previously done. In addition to education, we focus on the protection derived from (self-assessed) investments in job-specific human capital and from specialization in occupations that are (objectively) intensive in communication tasks. Second, we explicitly account for the potential endogeneity arising from job search. Methodologically, we estimate by instrumental variables, an econometric model that allows for heterogeneity at the individual, regional and country level. Drawing on the 2004–2005 European Social Survey, we obtain the following main results. First, natives that dislike immigrants tend to work in low-immigration jobs, biasing OLS estimates. Second, working in jobs that require high levels of specific human capital leads to relatively more pro-immigration attitudes, although this effect is only found for respondents with more than 12 years of schooling. Third, the degree of manual (communicational) intensity of workers' occupations has a negative (positive) effect on their pro-immigration views. This effect is the most significant, both in a statistical and in a quantitative sense, and is distinct from the protection from immigrant competition provided by formal education. Overall our results suggest a large role for skill-based labor market competition in determining individual attitudes toward immigration.

Volume: 19

Issue: 3

From page no: 298

To page no: 311

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1016/J.LABECO.2012.02.004

Journal: Labour Economics