December 2011

IZA DP No. 6261: Immigration: The European Experience

published in David Card and Steve Raphael (eds.), Immigration, Poverty, and Socioeconomic Inequality, Russell Sage Foundation, 2013

This paper first presents a brief historical overview of immigration in Europe. We then provide (and distinguishing between EU and non-EU immigrants) a comprehensive analysis of the skill structures of immigrants and their labor market integration in the different European countries, their position in the wage distribution, and the situation of their children, and discuss the disadvantage of immigrants and their children relative to natives. We show that immigrants – in particular those from non-EU countries – are severely disadvantaged in most countries, even if we compare them to natives with the same measurable skills. We conclude with a discussion of the role of regulations and institutions as one possible mechanism for these findings, and suggest directions for future research.