The article examines the occupational mobility of immigrants in Italy in a double perspective. First, this work compares immigrants and natives in order to understand whether, and to what extent, in a country characterized overall by low social mobility, natives and migrants have the same chances for improving their social position, or the latter are disadvantaged on an ethnic basis that affects their career (research question 1). Then, the article investigates what are the factors (referring to immigrants’ human capital, socio-cultural assimilation process and ethnic network) fostering occupational mobility among immigrants (research question 2). We conduct an ordinary least squares analysis on microdata from two retrospective cross-sectional surveys, for natives and migrants, with the same sample design, questionnaire structure and variable classification, thereby allowing the comparison of results. The empirical findings confirm that intra-generational occupational mobility in Italy is overall very limited but that geographical origin is a significant factor influencing upward mobility. Thus, the existence of an ethnic penalty is confirmed. Furthermore, among migrants, high human capital improves (short-range) upward mobility, while the socio-cultural assimilation process only partly leads to economic assimilation. Conversely, the recourse to the ethnic network acts as a trap in low-qualified occupational careers, hindering an improvement of socio-economic position.

Ethnic Penalty and Occupational Mobility in the Italian Labour Market

Avola Maurizio;
2020-01-01

Abstract

The article examines the occupational mobility of immigrants in Italy in a double perspective. First, this work compares immigrants and natives in order to understand whether, and to what extent, in a country characterized overall by low social mobility, natives and migrants have the same chances for improving their social position, or the latter are disadvantaged on an ethnic basis that affects their career (research question 1). Then, the article investigates what are the factors (referring to immigrants’ human capital, socio-cultural assimilation process and ethnic network) fostering occupational mobility among immigrants (research question 2). We conduct an ordinary least squares analysis on microdata from two retrospective cross-sectional surveys, for natives and migrants, with the same sample design, questionnaire structure and variable classification, thereby allowing the comparison of results. The empirical findings confirm that intra-generational occupational mobility in Italy is overall very limited but that geographical origin is a significant factor influencing upward mobility. Thus, the existence of an ethnic penalty is confirmed. Furthermore, among migrants, high human capital improves (short-range) upward mobility, while the socio-cultural assimilation process only partly leads to economic assimilation. Conversely, the recourse to the ethnic network acts as a trap in low-qualified occupational careers, hindering an improvement of socio-economic position.
Ethnic penalty, occupational mobility, labour market segmentation, international migration, human capital, assimilation, ethnic network
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/390256
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