Speaker: Martin Kahanec, Professor and Head of the Department of Public Policy at the Central European University (CEU) in Vienna.
Theoretical arguments and previous country-level evidence indicate that immigrants are more fluid than natives in responding to changing skill shortages across countries, occupation groups and industries. The diversity across EU member states enables us to test this hypothesis across various institutional, economic and policy contexts. Drawing on the EU LFS and EU SILC datasets, we study the relationship between residual wage premia as a measure of skill shortages in different occupation-industry-country cells and the shares of immigrants and natives working in these cells. We find that immigrants’ responsiveness to skill shortages exceeds that of natives in the EU15, in particular in member states with low GDP, higher levels of immigration from outside EU, and more open immigration and integration policies; but also those with barriers to citizenship acquisition or family reunification. While higher welfare spending seems to exert a lock-in effect, a comparison across different types of welfare states indicates that institutional complementarities alleviate the effect.