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Lifecycle Employment and Earnings of Labor Migrants to Norway


Based on individual histories of accumulation of credit points in the Norwegian pension system over the 1971-97 period, this paper estimates lifecycle employment and earnings profiles of labor migrants to Norway. We find important differences in labor market progress between immigrants from western and nonwestern countries. While employment and earnings profiles of western immigrants converge toward those of natives, profiles of nonwestern immigrants diverge after age 35 resulting in growing labor market differences between natives and immigrants over the lifecycle. Particularly dramatic is the divergence in employment: between the ages of 35 and 50 employment rates of nonwestern male immigrants are predicted to decline from .92 to .61 while the employment rate of a stratified native comparison sample holds steady at .92. Focusing on a group of adult, nonwestern male labor migrants that arrived in Norway between 1971 and 1975, we show that their employment rates exceeded those of natives during the 1976-80 period. By 1997, however, 50 percent of this immigrant group was not employed at all during the year. The majority of those not employed collected disability pensions and more than one quarter received supplemental social assistance.

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Bratsberg, Bernt, Oddbjørn Raaum og Knut Røed




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