The determinants and consequences of the naturalization of immigrants is a hot topic in the political debate in Europe. This article compares the effect of naturalization on the income attainment of immigrants in two Scandinavian countries, Denmark and Sweden, using longitudinal register data from 1986 and onward. Sweden is characterized by low obstacles to naturalization, and existing studies provide inconclusive evidence regarding the impact of naturalization on labor market outcomes. Denmark is instead characterized by higher barriers to naturalization, as well as a virtual inexistence of previous studies on the topic. Results, obtained through individual fixed-effect regression analysis, suggest similar effects in both countries. A consistent naturalization premium is detected for immigrants of Asian and African descent, but not for any other immigrant group. The similarity across contexts arguably questions the use of more stringent naturalization laws to promote the economic integration of immigrants.
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Authors’ calculations, based on data from Statistics Denmark for the Danish population on 1/1-2007 (http://www.statistikbanken.dk).
Shares are based on the county–region grouping used in the analysis. A complete list of countries can be received from the authors upon request. Authors’ calculations, based on 2012 data from Statistics Sweden (www.scb.se).
This was administrative practice until the end of the 1970s (see Lokrantz Bernitz et al. 2005).
Each dataset contains more than 50 unique nationalities, available upon request.
The Swedish Longitudinal Immigrant database, administered at the Centre for Economic Demography, Lund University, Sweden, and various registers administered by Statistics Denmark, among others BEF (Personer i Befolkningen) och FAIN (Husstande og familier).
In the majority of the cases, the income trajectories are not statistically significantly different from each other.
The price base amount is used within the social insurance and tax systems in Sweden, following changes over time in the cost of living. Swedish base amounts are applied also in Denmark and adjusted to DKK.
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Helgertz, J., Bevelander, P. & Tegunimataka, A. Naturalization and Earnings: A Denmark–Sweden Comparison. Eur J Population 30, 337–359 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10680-014-9315-z
- Comparative studies