How Labor Migrants Fare

Part of the series Population Economics pp 13-35

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

  • Timothy J. HattonAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, University of Essex
  • , Roy E. BaileyAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, University of Essex

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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.

Key words

Migration labour markets economic history

JEL classification

N34 J61 J31