Immigration and Ethnic Relations

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C. Dustmann, T. Frattini and I. Preston, 2008, "The Effect of Immigration along the Distribution of Wages", CReAM Discussion Paper 03/08

This paper analyses the effect immigration has on wages of native workers. Unlike most previous work, we estimate wage effects along the distribution of wages. We derive a flexible empirical strategy that does not rely on pre-allocating immigrants to particular skill groups. In our empirical analysis, we demonstrate that immigrants downgrade considerably upon arrival. As for the effects on native wages, we find that immigration depresses wages below the 20th percentile of the wage distribution, but leads to slight wage increases in the upper part of the wage distribution. The overall wage effect of immigration is slightly positive. The positive wage effects we find are, although modest, too large to be explained by a conventional immigration surplus. We suggest alternative explanations, based on the idea that immigrants are paid less than the value of what they contribute to production and we assess the magnitude of these effects.

C. Dustmann and I. Preston, 2007, "Racial and Economic Factors in Attitudes to Immigration", Berkeley Electronic Journal in Economic Analysis and Policy 7, Article 62

In this paper we distinguish between three channels that determine attitudes to further immigration: labour market concerns, welfare concerns, and racial or cultural concerns. Our analysis is based on the British Social Attitudes Survey. A unique feature of the survey is that it includes questions on attitudes towards immigration from different origin countries, with populations differing in ethnic similarity to the resident population. It also contains sets of questions relating directly to the labour market, benefit expenditure and welfare concerns, and racial and cultural prejudice. Based on this unique data source, we specify and estimate a multiple factor model that allows comparison of the relative magnitude of association of attitudes to further immigration with the three channels, as well as comparison in responses across potential immigrant groups of different origin. Our results suggest that, overall, welfare concerns play a more important role in determination of attitudes to further immigration than labour market concerns, with their relative magnitude differing across potential emigration regions and characteristics of the respondent. In addition, we find strong evidence that racial or cultural prejudice is an important component to attitudes towards immigration; however, this is restricted to immigration from countries with ethnically different populations.

C. Dustmann, F. Fabbri and I. Preston, 2005, "The Impact of Immigration on the UK Labour Market", Economic Journal, 115, F324-F341

This paper provides an empirical investigation of the way immigration affects labour market outcomes of native born workers in the UK, set beside a theoretical discussion of the underlying economic mechanisms. We discuss the problems that may arise in empirical estimations, and suggest ways to address these problems. Our empirical analysis is based on data from the British Labour Force Survey. We show that the overall skill distribution of Britain's immigrant workforce is remarkably similar to that of the native born workforce. We investigate the impact of immigration on employment, participation, unemployment and wages of the resident population. We find no evidence that immigration has overall effects on any of these outcomes.

C. Dustmann and I. Preston, 2005, "Is Immigration Good or Bad for the Economy? Analysis of Attitudinal Responses" , Research in Labor Economics, 24, 3-34.

In this paper we study attitudinal responses of host country residents towards further immigration that are triggered by economic considerations. We develop an economic model motivating the empirical work that takes a broader view on these issues than previous papers. We provide empirical analysis that is based on data more specific and better suited to pick up the many channels of economic interest through which benefits and costs of immigration may be felt. Results support previous literature in establishing strong associations between individual characteristics and a wide range of responses to questions relating to perceived impact of immigrants on economic outcomes. Our analysis points to the importance of a wider view on channels of economic interest and the way these affect assessment of immigration.

D. Card, C. Dustmann and I. Preston, 2005, "Understanding Attitudes to Immigration: The Migration and Minority Module of the First European Social Survey", CReAM Discussion Paper 03/05

Immigration control is an issue that figures prominently in public policy discussions and election campaigns throughout Europe. Although immigration may have positive effects on economic efficiency and growth in the receiving economy, it is often the negative aspects or perceived negative aspects, of immigration that attract the most attention. In this paper, we use the immigration module of the European Social Survey (ESS), which we developed in collaboration with the ESS survey team, to investigate public opinions about immigration, and the various dimensions of economic, public and private life that individuals feel are affected by immigration. We show that that there is substantial variation in the strength of anti-immigrant opinion across European countries, and that attitudes toward immigration also vary systematically with characteristics such as age, education, and urban/rural location. We propose possible interpretations of some of these regularities.

C. Dustmann, F. Fabbri and I. Preston, 2004, "Racial Harassment, Ethnic Concentration and Economic Conditions", CReAM Discussion Paper 05/04

In this paper, we analyse the association between spatial concentration of ethnic minorities and local economic conditions on the one hand, and racial harassment on the other. We argue that ethnic concentration relates to racial harassment not only through effects on majority prejudice but also through the probability of minority individuals meeting majority individuals, and through the probability of hostility being expressed aggressively. In that sense, racial harassment of minority individuals is not simply a stronger form of hostility in attitudes. Spatial ethnic concentration can therefore affect harassment probabilities in opposite ways to that in which it affects hostile attitudes in the majority population. We demonstrate empirically that, in area of higher local ethnic concentration, experience of harassment decreases, even though hostility on the side of the majority population does not.

C. Dustmann and I. Preston, 2001, "Attitudes to Ethnic Minorities, Ethnic Context and Location Decisions", Economic Journal, 111, 353-373

The attitudes of ethnic majority populations towards other communities is a potentially important determinant of social exclusion and of the welfare of ethnic minorities. The suggestion that negative attitudes towards minorities may be affected by the ethnic composition of the locality in which individuals live has often been made and empirically investigated. We point to an important potential for bias in simple estimates of ethnic context effects if individual location decisions are driven in part by attitudinal factors. We also suggest an instrumental variables procedure for overcoming such bias in data with appropriate spatial information. Our results suggest that such a a correction may be important.

Ian Preston
Department of Economics
University College London
Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT