When Immigrants Meet Exporters: A Reassessment of the Immigrant Wage Gap

Léa Marchal, Guzmán Ourens, Giulia Sabbadini

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We use French employer-employee data for the manufacturing sector from 2005 to 2015 to reassess the wage gap between native and foreign workers. In line with previous evidence, we find that immigrants earn less than natives, white-collar workers earn more than bluecollar workers, and exporters pay higher wages. In a new contribution to this literature, we find that the immigrant wage gap varies with the export intensity of the firm and the occupational group of the worker. We present a theoretical model with heterogeneous firms and workers to show that our findings are consistent with white-collar immigrant workers capturing an informational rent, as they provide exporters with valuable information for accessing foreign markets. We provide evidence for this mechanism. First, we analyse how the immigrant wage gap varies with the complexity of the firm export activity. Second, we study how the average wage of immigrant workers from different origin groups varies with the export activity of the employing firm in those same origin regions.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
PublisherCentER, Center for Economic Research
Number of pages53
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2022

Publication series

NameCentER Discussion Paper


  • export
  • firm
  • Heterogeneity
  • immigrant workers
  • wage inequality


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