Date of Award

Summer 2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

School

Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Chair

Dr. Joseph St. Marie

Committee Chair School

Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Member 2

Dr. Shahdad Naghshpour

Committee Member 2 School

Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Member 3

Dr. Robert Pauly

Committee Member 3 School

Social Science and Global Studies

Committee Member 4

Dr. Tom Lansford

Committee Member 4 School

Social Science and Global Studies

Abstract

Drawing upon theories of institutional variety, this research seeks to determine whether or not immigrant labor market outcomes are better in countries with 1) liberal market economies and deregulated labor markets; and 2) countries with supply-driven immigration systems. Non-parametric Kolmogorov-Smirnov and Mann-Whitney U tests are combined with parametric time series, GLS regression analysis of panel data to estimate the impact and significance of legal origins (common versus civil law systems) and merit-based immigration policy on 1) labor market participation; 2) unemployment; and 3) employment by educational attainment in 28 OECD countries between the years 2001-2016. The analysis controls for other factors known to influence immigrant labor outcomes, such as inflation, output levels, education levels, labor productivity, labor compensation, public labor market spending, and business cycle fluctuations.

Findings indicate that foreign-born labor market outcomes are better in civil law countries, with greater labor market regulation and more generous welfare programs. The percentage of foreign-born persons who are unemployed is significantly different in countries with common versus civil law legal systems. When civil law systems are disaggregated by type (i.e. French, German, and Nordic civil law), the difference is most visible between English common law and French civil law countries. Labor market participation rates are significantly different for only the male foreign- and native-born populations in civil versus common law countries. There is no statistically significant difference between civil and common law countries in terms of employment by educational attainment.

This research finds limited evidence that supply-driven systems are associated with greater economic integration of migrants. The presence of a merit-based immigration system has a statistically significant relationship with only the labor market participation rate for male foreign-born workers; the relationship is positive. The presence of a merit-based immigration system has no statistically significant relationship with foreign-born unemployment or employment by educational attainment rates. Moreover, the findings suggest that both legal origins and merit-based immigration policy is more strongly associated with native-born workers than foreign-born workers. This research makes both a theoretical and methodological contribution to the immigration literature and offers more generalizable conclusions than most large-sample studies have previously.

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