Spanish Economic Review

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 83–107 | Cite as

Labor market assimilation of immigrants in Spain: employment at the expense of bad job-matches?

Regular Article


During the last decade, Spain has experienced an unprecedented increase of immigration from three localized areas: Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Africa. Using data from the Labour Force Survey for the period 1996–2006, we study the labour characteristics of recent immigrants, identifying the major differences with the native population at arrival and tracking whether these differences fade away as their years of residence in Spain increase. We allow the returns to human capital and the sensitivity to the business cycle to differ between immigrants and natives. Overall, our results show that, compared to natives, immigrants face initially higher participation and unemployment rates, as well as higher incidence of overeducation and temporary contracts. However, 5 years after arrival immigrants’ participation rates start to converge to natives’ rates, unemployment rates decrease to levels even lower than those of natives, and the incidence of overeducation and temporary contracts remains roughly constant: no reduction of the gap with Spanish workers is observed.

JEL Classification

J11 J21 J61 


Immigration Assimilation Labor force participation Unemployment Overeducation Temporary contracts 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Economic Research DepartmentBBVAMadridSpain
  2. 2.CReAM, Department of EconomicsUCLLondonUK

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