Intersecting Inequalities and Immigrant Joblessness in Britain, Germany, and Sweden

Christel Kesler, University of California, Berkeley

This paper considers destination effects on immigrant joblessness in Britain, Germany, and Sweden. Findings show that immigrant/native-born joblessness differentials are larger in Sweden than in Britain and Germany, net of human capital, socio-demographic characteristics, and sending country. Institutional explanations include cross-national differences in occupational structures, access to welfare, and anti-discrimination law. A second important finding is that Swedish institutions boost women’s employment so much that immigrant women in Sweden have lower absolute levels of joblessness than immigrant women elsewhere. This suggests that gendered institutional configurations in destination countries are an important aspect of immigrant economic incorporation. Furthermore, the finding provides evidence that institutions which foster women’s work have independent effects on newcomers’ employment, and are not merely an indicator of pre-existing proclivities toward work.

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Presented in Session 114: Comparative Perspectives on Migration