Marta De Philippis, Federico Rossi, 03 November 2020

There is an abundance of evidence to show that differences in educational attainment play a major role in defining cross-country variations in economic outcomes. This column shows that these cross-country gaps go beyond differences in school quality and parents' socioeconomic background, and that country-specific cultural values, transmitted through parental practices, play an important role. This should inform policies that attempt to replicate the successes of higher-performing countries.

Philipp Ager, Francesco Cinnirella, 11 September 2020

At the beginning of the 20th century more than 7,000 kindergartens were set up in the US. Philipp Ager and Francesco Cinnirella tell Tim Phillips about the profound effect of preschool on the life chances of a generation of immigrants.

Gordon Dahl, Christina Felfe, Paul Frijters, Helmut Rainer, 10 May 2020

Granting birth-right citizenship to immigrant youth has the policy goal of increasing assimilation and welfare.  But could it have unintended consequences if the parents value a more traditional outcome? This column uses a reform in Germany and survey data of school children to show that birth-right citizenship lowers life satisfaction and self-esteem for Muslim immigrant girls, but not boys. For these girls, it also results in family and career anxiety, reduced parental investments in schooling and language, less self-identification as German, and more social isolation.

Leah Boustan, 02 March 2020

Are the children of immgrants to the US who are being raised below the middle class able to move up?

Graziella Bertocchi, Marianna Brunetti, Anzelika Zaiceva, 07 February 2020

The financial decisions made by immigrants are likely to differ substantially from those made by natives. Using data from a Bank of Italy survey, this column compares native Italian and immigrant households and shows that immigrants find themselves worse-off both in terms of wealth holdings and allocation across assets. These gaps can affect immigrants’ wellbeing, inhibit integration, and have consequences for the country’s financial markets.

Michael Roach, Henry Sauermann, John D. Skrentny, 24 November 2019

The propensity of foreign STEM talent to found or join startups in the US is widely recognised but little understood. Using unique longitudinal data from over 5,600 STEM PhDs, this column reveals that during graduate school, foreign students exhibit more entrepreneurial personality traits and career preferences than their native peers. After graduation, however, they are less likely to found companies or work in startups. These results suggest that US immigration policies may deter newly minted PhDs from participating in entrepreneurship.

Philipp Ager, 05 August 2019

Phillip Ager asks whether the introduction of preschool education contributes to a fall in fertility in the industrialised world.

Bernt Bratsberg, Andreas Moxnes, Oddbjørn Raaum, Karen-Helene Ulltveit-Moe, 09 May 2019

In the aftermath of the eastern enlargement of the EU, Norway experienced one of the largest immigration shocks of the 21st century. This column uses data from the episode to examine the general equilibrium response of wages, labour costs, and industry employment to such shocks. One finding is that although real wages in some occupations decline, the aggregate welfare effects on natives are close to zero as natives switch to higher-wage occupations. The welfare effect on the existing population of immigrants, on the other hand, is negative as they have a comparative advantage in low-wage occupations.

Simone Moriconi, Giovanni Peri, Dario Pozzoli, 24 February 2019

Firms’ offshoring decisions depend on the size of entry costs in target countries. But the institutional and policy determinants of these costs have received little empirical attention. This column uses data on 2,000 Danish manufacturing firms to explore how costs of entry affect offshoring decisions. Higher levels of labour market rigidity, credit risk, and corruption all lower the probability of offshoring to a given country, while immigrant networks within the firm increase the likelihood of offshoring to their home countries. 

Katherine Eriksson, Zach Ward, 06 August 2018

Those opposed to immigration often contend that immigrants are slow to assimilate. This column takes a longer-term view of assimilation by looking at the degree of ethnic spatial segregation in the US during and after the Age of Mass Migration. New methods and newly digitised data suggest that segregation in the US between 1850 and 1940 was both higher and more widespread than previously thought. However, despite slow rates of spatial assimilation, immigrants tend to assimilate culturally at a fast rate. 

Christoph Albert, Joan Monras, 29 June 2018

Immigrants usually spend part of their time, savings, and income in their country of origin and not where they currently live. This column uses US data to argue that the resulting difference in consumption patterns relative to natives has profound implications for the types of cities that immigrants are attracted to. It shows that immigrants redistribute economic activity towards large, expensive cities. These cities tend to be more productive, so immigrants have a positive effect on overall output.

Michele Battisti, Giovanni Peri, Agnese Romiti, 05 June 2018

Most of the evidence from studies analysing the effect of ethnic concentration on immigrants’ employment and earnings points to a positive effect of network size on labour market outcomes. This column uses data from social security records in Germany to show that a larger co-ethnic network in the location of first settlement can increase the short-run probability of finding a job but can also hinder human capital investment, limiting the benefits of the larger network over the long run.

Ufuk Akcigit, John Grigsby, Tom Nicholas, 27 March 2017

The impact of immigration on US economic development has become a controversial issue in recent policy debates. This column, arising from a study linking Federal Census data with patent records, examines the historical role of immigrant inventors in the process of US technological innovation. Immigrant inventors appear to have been of central importance to American innovation during the 19th and 20th centuries, both through their own inventive activity and through their influence on domestic inventors.

Victor Gay, Daniel Hicks, Estefania Santacreu-Vasut, 10 September 2016

Evidence suggests that many forms of gender inequality are higher in countries where the language distinguishes gender. But these patterns could arise spuriously, as languages and other cultural institutions have co-evolved throughout history. This column uses an epidemiological approach to isolate language from other cultural forces and provide direct evidence on whether language matters. The findings suggest how gender roles have been shaped, how they are perpetuated, and, ultimately, how they can be changed.

Ran Abramitzky, Leah Boustan, 04 July 2016

Attitudes toward immigration policy are driven by fears about cultural diversity, not just individual economic circumstances. This column looks back at the Age of Mass Migration (1850-1913), when 30 million migrants moved from Europe to the US, to examine whether such fears are justified. US Census data from 1920 reveals that recent immigrants gave their children more foreign names than long-standing immigrants, which suggests that cultural assimilation did take place over time. This assimilation had economic benefits for children, both in school and in the labour market.

Laurent Gobillon, Matthieu Solignac, 21 January 2016

Assimilation of migrants can be measured in various ways, one such measure being their access to the homeownership market. This column argues that the evolution of homeownership rates of immigrants is a complex process, with important selection effects. In France, the homeownership rate among northern African immigrants lags behind not only that of natives, but also southern European immigrants. A possible reason is discrimination against northern African immigrants not only on the labour market, but also on the credit and housing markets.

Laurent Gobillon, Matthieu Solignac, 06 December 2015

We investigate the difference in homeownership rates between natives and first-generation immigrants in France, and how this difference evolves over the 1975-1999 period, by using a large longitudinal dataset. We find that the homeownership gap is large and has increased. Entries into the territory have a large negative effect on the evolution of homeownership rates for immigrants. Although entrants have on average better education than people staying in the territory for the entire period (i.e. stayers), they are younger and thus at an earlier stage in the wealth accumulation process. They are also located in large cities, where the homeownership rate is lower, and the returns to their characteristics are lower than those for stayers. 

William Kerr, Martin Mandorff, 31 October 2015

Immigrants are more likely to concentrate around specific industries and entrepreneurship. Market integration and discrimination only go a certain way towards explaining this phenomenon. This column explores how social interactions affect immigrants’ employment decisions in the US. Fifteen ethnic groups are found to cluster around certain industries at a rate 10 times greater than the native population. Immigrants are argued to be drawn to the same industries as their countrymen due to the ease of diffusing skills through social interactions in the group, along with higher earnings due to specialisation.

Gianmarco Ottaviano, Giovanni Peri, Greg Wright, 26 October 2010

Do immigrants take American jobs? Or does increased efficiency in firms that hire immigrants or practice offshoring generate new jobs for US natives? The authors of CEPR Discussion Paper 8078 develop and test a model which measures both the direct impact of offshoring and hiring immigrants on the employment share of US natives and the indirect gains to US natives from the "cost-savings" effect.


CEPR Policy Research