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Managing Migration and Integration: Europe and the US, March 9, 2012

Managing Migration and Integration: Europe and the US

UC-Berkeley Room 420 Barrows Hall
Friday March 9, 2012

Conference Report

Opinion polls suggest that most Americans and Europeans believe that governments are doing a poor job selecting wanted newcomers, preventing the entry and stay of unwanted foreigners, and integrating settled immigrants and their children. Are they?

This seminar focuses on the economic and social integration of immigrants who arrived as migrant workers. The European Commission has urged aging European societies to open doors wider to migrant workers in order to maintain labor forces and bolster the financing of pension plans. However, in Europe, low-skilled migrant workers and their children have low labor force participation rates, high unemployment rates, and low levels of education and training. There are significant differences by nationality in labor market integration, and the reasons will be explored in this session.

The US is more successful at getting low-skilled migrants into jobs, but not very successful at ensuring that these jobs generate above poverty-level incomes and access to work-related benefits. Low-skilled migrants in European countries with regular jobs, on the other hand, generally have above poverty-level incomes and access to work-related benefits. The question is whether these Europe-US differences reflect a trade off between jobs and welfare, that is, do flexible labor markets that make it easier for immigrants to get jobs and harder for immigrants to access welfare benefits explain observed transatlantic differences?

We are grateful to the UCB European Union Center of Excellence for their support of this conference.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Welcome and Introductions, Bev Crawford, UCB, Philip Martin, UCD, Irene Bloemraad, UCB
Low-Skilled Migrants and the Labor Market, Chair, Philip Martin, UCD
Gudrun Biffl, Donau University: paper, presentation
Giovanni Peri, UCD
Discussants: Philip Martin, UCD
Integrating Low-Skilled Migrants, Chair, Irene Bloemraad, UCB
Friedrich Heckmann, Uni Bamberg: paper, presentation
Irene Bloemraad, UCB and Magali Girard, UCB
Discussants: Nicole Schneeweiss, UCB, Erin Hamilton, UCD