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Do Immigrants Shield the Locals Exposure to COVID-Related Risks in the European Union (English)

This paper investigates the relationship between immigration and the exposure of native workers to the health and labor-market risks arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Using various measures of occupational risks based on European Union labor force survey data, the paper finds that immigrant workers, especially those from lower-income member countries in Eastern Europe or from outside the EU, face greater exposure than their native-born peers to both income and health-shocks related to COVID-19. The paper also shows that native workers living in regions with a higher concentration of immigrants are less exposed to some of the income and health risks associated with the pandemic. To assess whether this relationship is causal, a Bartik-type shift-share instrument is used to control for potential bias and unobservable factors that would lead migrants to self-select into more vulnerable occupations across regions. The results show that the presence of immigrant workers has a causal effect in reducing the exposure of native workers to various risks by enabling the native-born workers to move into jobs that could be undertaken from the safety of their homes or with lower face-to-face interactions. The effects on the native-born population are more pronounced for high-skilled workers than for low-skilled workers, and for women than for men. The paper does not find a significant effect of immigration on wages and employment — indicating that the effects are mostly driven by a reallocation of natives from less safe jobs to safer jobs.


  • Author

    Bossavie,Laurent Loic Yves, Garrote Sanchez,Daniel, Makovec,Mattia, Ozden,Caglar

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  • Document Type

    Policy Research Working Paper

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  • Country

    EU Accession Countries,

  • Region

    Europe and Central Asia,

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  • Doc Name

    Do Immigrants Shield the Locals ? Exposure to COVID-Related Risks in the European Union

  • Keywords

    Occupation; migrant; native worker; Natives; million people; low levels of education; immigrant worker; exposure to health risks; labor force survey data; employment rate of immigrant; local labor market condition; constant elasticity of substitution; low labor force participation; work at home; free movement of workers; labor market outcome; number of migrants; distribution of immigrants; number of immigrants; fixed effect; country of origin; high risk occupation; network of immigrant; inflow of immigrants; flow of migrants; parameter of interest; distribution of workers; internal labor mobility; compensating wage differential; labor market impact; country fixed effect; gender wage gap; effect on employment; effects of immigration; number of jobs; impact of immigration; supply of skill; immigration on wages; impact of migration; size of immigration; general equilibrium model; female migrant; education level; occupational choice; destination country; conceptual framework; income risk; occupational exposure; comparative advantage; empirical analysis; language skill; manual occupations; economic vulnerability; Homebased Work; migration status; risk exposure; causal effect; first stage; working-age population; alternative instruments; wage effect; exclusion restriction; migration flow; regional characteristic; positive correlation; occupational category; correlation coefficient; imperfect substitute; wage distribution; predictive power; total employment; high concentration; migration inflows; local demand; coefficient estimate; native population; health shock; geographic area; employment outcome; unemployment risk; female workers; descriptive statistic; native women



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Bossavie,Laurent Loic Yves Garrote Sanchez,Daniel Makovec,Mattia Ozden,Caglar

Do Immigrants Shield the Locals Exposure to COVID-Related Risks in the European Union (English). Policy Research working paper,no. WPS 9500,COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.