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Natives and migrants in the London labour market, 1929–1931


Migrants are sometimes regarded as marginal workers in metropolitan labour markets. London has long been a major destination for migrants from elsewhere in Britain and abroad. In this paper we examine the earnings and unemployment experience in 1929–1931 of male workers who migrated to London, or within London. We use data from the New Survey of London Life and Labour, a large survey of working class households, the records from which have recently been computerised. Our findings indicate that migrants were not marginal, in fact they enjoyed slightly higher earnings and lower unemployment incidence than native Londoners. Much of the advantage can be explained by differences in average skill levels and personal characteristics.

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Received: 2 November 1999/Accepted: 3 August 2000

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Hatton, T., Bailey, R. Natives and migrants in the London labour market, 1929–1931. J Popul Econ 15, 59–81 (2002).

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  • JEL classification: N34, J61, J31
  • Key words: Migration, labour markets, economic history