Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics

, Volume 146, Issue 4, pp 741–767 | Cite as

Who opposes immigrants’ integration into the labor market? The Swiss case

  • Tobias Müller
  • Silvio H. T. Tai
Open Access


First, we spell out a political-economy model, based on segmented labor markets, which explains why a guest-worker system is preferred to a non-discriminatory immigration regime and why measures to improve the integration of low-skill immigrants tend to be opposed subsequently. The model also predicts that attitudes towards the integration of immigrants are positively related to education. Second, we examine the empirical evidence on attitudes towards the integration of immigrants. Our findings from Swiss data are consistent with the prediction of the theoretical model. Both economic and non-economic factors seem to matter in the positive relationship between attitudes and education.


F22 J61 D72 


immigration immigrant integration guest-workers political economy 


  1. Bauer, Thomas K., Magnus Lofstrom, and Klaus F. Zimmermann (2000), “Immigration Policy, Assimilation of Immigrants and Natives’ Sentiments towards Immigrants: Evidence from 12 OECD-Countries”, IZA Discussion Paper No. 187.Google Scholar
  2. Bulow, Jeremy I., and Lawrence H. Summers (1986), “A Theory of Dual Labor Markets with Application to Industrial Policy, Discrimination, and Keynesian Unemployment”, Journal of Labor Economics, 4 (3), pp. 376–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Castles, Stephen (1986), “The Guest-Worker in Western Europe: An Obituary”, International Migration Review, 20 (4), 761–778.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dustmann, Christian (1993), “Earnings Adjustment of Temporary Migrants”, Journal of Population Economics, 6, pp. 153–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dustmann, Christian, and Ian P. Preston (2007), “Racial and Economic Factors in Attitudes to Immigration”, The B. E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, 7 (1), Advances, Article 62.Google Scholar
  6. Facchini, Giovanni, and Anna Maria Mayda (2008), “From Individual Attitudes towards Migrants to Migration Policy Outcomes: Theory and Evidence”, Economic Policy, 56, pp. 651–713.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Facchini, Giovanni, and Anna Maria Mayda (2009), “Individual Attitudes towards Immigrants: Welfare-State Determinants across Countries”, Review of Economics and Statistics, 91 (2), pp. 295–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fibbi, Rosita, Mathias Lerch, and Philippe Wanner (2006), “Unemployment and Discrimination against Youth of Immigrant Origin in Switzerland: When the Name Makes the Difference”, Journal of International Migration and Integration, 7 (3), pp. 351–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Goldberg, Andreas, Dora Mourinho and Ursula Kulke (1996), “Labour Market Discrimination against Foreign Workers in Germany”, International Migration Papers 7, International Labour Office, Geneva.Google Scholar
  10. Hainmueller, Jens, and Michael J. Hiscox (2007), “Educated Preferences: Explaining Attitudes Toward Immigration in Europe”, International Organization, 61, pp. 399–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hanson, Gordon H., Kenneth F. Scheve and Matthew J. Slaughter (2007), “Local Public Finance and Individual Preferences over Globalization Strategies”, Economics and Politics, 19, pp. 1–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Flückiger, Yves, and Milad Zarin Nejadan (2000), «Intégration de la population étrangère en Suisse: aspects économiques», rapport au Fonds National Suisse, mimeo.Google Scholar
  13. Goldberg, Andreas, Dora Mourinho, and Ursula Kulke (2010), “Ethnic Discrimination in Germany’s Labour Market: A Field Experiment”, IZA Discussion Paper No. 4741.Google Scholar
  14. Mayda, Anna Maria (2006), “Who is against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants”, Review of Economics and Statistics, 88 (3), pp. 510–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mayer, Kurt B. (1965), “Postwar Migration from Italy to Switzerland”, International Migration Digest, 1 (2), pp. 5–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. de Melo, Jaime, Florence Miguet, and Tobias Müller (2002), “The Political Economy of EU Enlargement: Lessons from Switzerland”, CEPR Discussion Paper No 3449.Google Scholar
  17. Müller, Tobias (2003a), “Migration Policy in a Small Open Economy with a Dual Labor Market”, Review of International Economics, 11 (1), pp. 130–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Müller, Tobias (2003b), “Migration, Unemployment and Discrimination”, European Economic Review, 47, pp. 409–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Müller, Tobias, and José Ramirez (2009), “Wage Inequality and Segregation between Native and Immigrant Workers in Switzerland: Evidence Using Matched Employee-Employer Data”, Research on Economic Inequality, 17, pp. 205–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Müller, Tobias, and Silvio H. T. Tai (2009), “Individual Attitudes towards Migration: A Reexamination of the Evidence”, mimeo University of Geneva.Google Scholar
  21. Piguet, Etienne, and Hans Mahnig (2000), «Quotas d’immigration: L’expérience de la Suisse», Cahiers de migrations internationales, 37, International Labour Office, Geneva.Google Scholar
  22. OECD (2008), International Migration Outlook (SOPEMI), OECD, Paris.Google Scholar
  23. O’Rourke, Kevin H., and Richard Sinnott (2006), “The Determinants of Individual Attitudes Towards Immigration”, European Journal of Political Economy, 22: pp. 838–861.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Scheve, Kenneth F., and Matthew. J. Slaughter (2001), “Labor Market Competition And Individual Preferences Over Immigration Policy”, Review of Economics and Statistics, 83 (1): pp. 133–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Shapiro, Carl, and Joseph E. Stiglitz (1984), “Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device”, American Economic Review, 74(3), pp. 433–444.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tobias Müller
    • 1
  • Silvio H. T. Tai
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EconometricsUniversity of GenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity Paris Sud-XIFrance

Personalised recommendations