The Labor Market Effects of Immigration and Emigration in OECD Countries

Innovation and Economic Growth

Article Snapshot


Frédéric Docquier, Çağlar Özden and Giovanni Peri


IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor, Discussion Paper No. 6258, 2011


Calculates the effects of immigration and emigration on wages and employment of native workers in OECD countries.

Policy Relevance

Countries with more open immigration policies attract highly educated immigrants and receive a boost to average wage and employment of their citizens, especially the less educated ones.

Main Points

  • This paper collects for the first time, from national censuses, a database of the stocks of migrants by education level and country of origin for the years 1990 and 2000 to evaluate the labor market effects of net immigration and emigration during the 1990's in all OECD countries*.
  • College graduates have much larger international mobility relative to all other individuals and therefore net migration flows are college-intensive relative to the population of non-migrants.
  • In all simulations, immigration had a positive effect on the wage of less educated natives; it also increased or left unchanged the average wages of natives, and had positive or null effect on native employment in OECD countries*.
  • Emigration had a negative effect on the wage of native less educated workers and contributed to increase inequality in all OECD countries*.


*OECD countries are those that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.


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