Integration over the Long Run – Immigrant Economic Progress since 1946

Kirk Scott , Lund University
Jonas Helgertz, University of Minnesota/Lund University
Anna Tegunimataka, Lund University

The history of post-war immigration in northwestern Europe can largely be divided into an initial period of labor migration, followed by increasing refugee migration. This paper examines differences in early-stage integration between those arriving in Sweden immediately after the Second World War and those arriving more recently. A prime question here is if today’s migrants, who are much more heterogenous and historically different from native Swedes, have different integration patterns than the European immigrants of the 1950s faced, or are the trajectories largely similar, but at different levels. Longitudinal individual-level data on immigrants during the 1940s, 50s, and 60s are extremely rare. This study exploits new data covering the entire population of an industrial city from 1900 – 2016, allowing us for the first time to follow migrants in detail during the entire post-war period, up to today. Preliminary findings suggest that migrants in the "golden age" of labor migration actually display less upward occupational mobility than in later periods, but have higher relative incomes. This paper will examine these findings in more detail for different arrival cohorts. Using detailed individual data, combined with macroeconomic fluctuations, we can not only identify differences in integration processes by period, but also the potentially changing effects of the macroeconomic situation at arrival on pathways of integration.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session Migration, Economics, Environment, Methods, History and Policy