Childhood Immigration, Skill Specialization, and Labor Market Sorting
PROMENTAs April Scientific Meeting features a guest lecture by Associate Professor Are Skeie Hermansen, Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo. He will present his new paper "Childhood Immigration, Skill Specialization, and Labor Market Sorting".
Upon arrival in a new country, childhood immigrants face a series of developmental challenges related to language learning, changing educational opportunities, identity formation and possible traumas, and the acquisition of a broad set of skills needed to thrive in knowledge-intensive labor markets. In this talk, I address how childhood immigrants’ age at arrival affects adult earnings, occupational skill specialization, and sorting across workplaces.
Using Norwegian administrative data, the study employs a sibling comparison design that allows me to disentangle the effects of age at arrival on adult outcomes from all factors shared within sibships in immigrant families. Results from sibling fixed-effects models show, first, a progressively stronger adverse effect of older ages at arrival on earnings. Second, older-arriving childhood immigrants increasingly sort into occupations with higher physical demands and lower requirements for communicative, socioemotional, and analytic skills. Third, older-arriving childhood immigrants increasingly sort into workplaces where coworkers are lower paid, less educated, and more often immigrants. These age-at-arrival gradients are stronger among children with less-educated immigrant parents who arrive from low-income origin regions.
To summarize, immigration in later stages of childhood and adolescence has lasting impacts on adult productivity, skill specialization, and workplace segregation.