Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Uppsala University, Department of Economics

No 2000:13: Emigration of Immigrants and Measures of Immigrant Assimilation: Evidence from Sweden.

Per-Anders Edin (), Robert J. LaLonde and Olof Åslund
Additional contact information
Per-Anders Edin: Department of Economics, Postal: Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Robert J. LaLonde: Department of Economics, Postal: University of Chicago, 1126 E. 59th Street, Chicago, IL, USA
Olof Åslund: Department of Economics, Postal: Uppsala University, Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract: Most previously used measures of immigrant labor market assimilation will be biased if there is non-random emigration of immigrants. We use longitudinal data on immigration to Sweden 1970-1990 to examine the extent and pattern of immigrant emigration and its consequences for measures of assimilation. Large fractions of the immigrants leave the host country shortly after arrival; within five years, more than a quarter of the people studied emigrated. As expected, economic migrants are much more likely to emigrate than political ones. Further, within these two groups, it is the least economically successful who leave. This creates the impression that immigrants’ well-being relative to natives improves with time in Sweden. However, not adjusting for emigration leads to overestimating the rate of economic assimilation, for Nordic and OECD immigrants by about much as 75 percent.90 percent or more.

Keywords: Assimilation; immigration; return migration

JEL-codes: F22; J61

38 pages, September 20, 2000

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