IZA DP No. 4348: Complements or Substitutes? Task Specialization by Gender and Nativity in Spain
published in: Labour Economics, 2011, 18 (5), 697-707
Learning about the impact of immigration on the labor market outcomes of natives is a topic of major concern for immigrant-receiving countries. There exists an extensive literature evaluating the impact of immigration on the employment and wages of natives in the U.S. Yet, despite the significant degree of occupational segregation by gender regardless of workers' origin, the literature has traditionally treated male and female immigrants as a homogenous group when examining the impact of immigration on native workers. Instead, using data from Spain, where the immigrant population has risen from 4 percent to 10 percent of the population within a decade, we allow for male and female foreign-born workers to have distinct impacts on the employment patterns of native men and women. This proves to be important as foreign-born workers only seem to have a significant impact on the employment pattern of native workers of the same sex. Furthermore, foreign-born male (female) workers do not appear to be perfect substitutes of similarly skilled native male (female) workers, which may help explain the null or small impacts of immigration on native employment and wages. Instead, immigration appears to have affected the task specialization and occupational distribution of natives of the same gender.