Immigrants, natives and job quality: evidence from Spain

Luis Diaz-Serrano (Economics, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Reus, Spain)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Publication date: 11 November 2013



The purpose of this paper is to seek test for the precondition for labour-market competition between immigrants and natives, which implies that both are willing to accept jobs that do not differ in quality.


To test this hypothesis, using Spanish data, the paper analyses whether immigrants and natives exhibit different tastes for working conditions. The paper proceeds as follows. First, the paper estimates job satisfaction equations, where working conditions enter as covariates. Second, the paper tests whether the package of (dis)amenities inherent to their jobs differ. Additionally, the paper also tests for assimilation of immigrant workers in terms of job quality.


The paper finds that immigrant and native workers tend to exhibit the same taste for most on-the-job amenities. However, immigrants are more tolerant with jobs involving poorer environmental working conditions, more physically demanding tasks and higher exposure to physical damage. The paper also finds that immigrant workers tend to be employed in lower quality jobs. However, some of the bad working conditions tend to improve over time, suggesting some assimilation in terms of job quality.


The type of analysis the authors carry out here allows them to contribute to the literature by moving a step away from the conventional approach used in previous studies. While previous literature mostly analyses the effect of immigration in natives’ labour market outcomes and assimilation of immigrants in terms of wages and employment, this study is one of the few that focus on working conditions and the quality of jobs.



The author would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Spanish Ministry of Education (grant number SEJ2007-66318) and the Regional Government of Catalonia-AGAUR (grant number 2008 ARAF1 00005).


Diaz-Serrano, L. (2013), "Immigrants, natives and job quality: evidence from Spain", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 34 No. 7, pp. 753-775.

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