Original Article

Journal of Geographical Systems

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 355-387

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Joint impacts of immigration on wages and employment: review and meta-analysis

  • S. LonghiAffiliated withInstitute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex
  • , P. NijkampAffiliated withDepartment of Spatial Economics, VU University
  • , J. PootAffiliated withPopulation Studies Centre, University of Waikato Email author 


A burgeoning literature has emerged during the last two decades to assess the economic impacts of immigration on host countries. In this paper, we outline the quantitative approaches presented in the literature to estimate the impact of immigration on the labour market, particularly at the regional level. We then revisit the joint impacts of immigration on wages and employment using a meta-analytic approach. As a novel contribution to previous meta-analyses on labour market impacts, we use a simultaneous equations approach to the meta-analysis of wage and employment effects. Using 129 effect sizes, we find that the observed local wage and employment effects are very small indeed. Generally, the employment impact is more pronounced in Europe than in the United States. Controls for endogeneity show a somewhat more negative impact. Wage rigidity increases the magnitude of the employment impact on the native born. The demarcation of the local labour market in terms of geography and skills matters also.


International migration Regional labour market Meta-analysis Migration impact assessment

JEL Classification

F22 J61 R23