, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 945-958
Date: 30 Dec 2011

The immigration surplus and the substitutability of immigrant and native labor: evidence from Spain

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How immigration affects the labor market of the host country is a topic of major concern for many immigrant-receiving nations. Spain is no exception, as a consequence of the rapid increase in immigrant flows experienced over the past few decades. We assess the impact of immigration on Spanish natives’ incomes by estimating the net immigration surplus (IS) under the assumption of perfect and imperfect substitutabilities between immigrant and native labor of similar educational attainment. To address the imperfect substitutability between immigrant and native labor, we use information on the occupational distribution of immigrants and natives of similar educational attainment to learn about the equivalency of skilled immigrants to skilled and unskilled natives. The results show that the magnitude of the IS significantly rises with the degree of imperfect substitutability between immigrant and native labor.