Migrant selection and labor outcomes of Non-Western immigrants in Sweden and Denmark after the 2002 Danish reforms

Lilla salen Session 7: Historical Perspectives on Migration organized by Jonatan Andersson


Fátima de Arriba Moreno, Anna Tegunimataka and Jonas Helgertz


Denmark and Sweden have been hosting countries for similar types of migration since the 1980s. However, despite sharing the same socioeconomic characteristics, their migration policies have followed contrary paths since the 2000s. While Sweden has opted for a more generous policy in the last two decades, Denmark has chosen considerably more strict immigration policy, increasing the obstacles for a specific type of immigration. The consequences of these numerous policies have not yet been fully addressed in the literature. The starting point of this paper will be the first tighter policies implemented by Denmark in 2002, aimed at limiting a certain type of immigration, such as longer waiting times for obtaining residency and higher requirements for family reunification. The object of study will be to understand the consequences of this shift on the selection of migrants in terms of educational attainment and labor market outcomes after their arrival. For this, we will use register data from Denmark and Sweden, focusing on those origin countries which were more exposed to the change in policies and, at the same time, were the bigger source countries at that time. Given that Sweden did not change its immigration policy during these years, a difference-in-differences design will be used. The policy change is expected to have resulted in a decline in the number of arriving in Denmark, contrary to a stable flow in Sweden. As such, and given that the policy targeted refugees, the share of this type of immigration would be decreasing in Denmark. Finally, regarding income outcomes, we expect a decrease in the income of those who were targeted by the policies, showing the increasing obstacles for their effective integration. In conclusion, we expect to find a shift in the type and labor outcomes. The study of the consequences of these policies will help address its real impact and the consequences they may bring forward, as well as a better design of immigration policy based on empirical evidence.


No PDF available.