Working Poverty Among Immigrants and « Ethnic Minorities » : Theoretical Framework and Empirical Evidence Across Welfare Regimes
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Working Papers MAPS ;3
While the research that focuses on working poverty and low-wage employment usually explains the situation of immigrants and 'ethnic' minorities in terms of human capital, linguistic skills, social origin, and the like ('class-only' explanations), the literature that starts from the specific situation of minorities, especially the one that deals with immigration laws and/or labour market discrimination, tends to ignore what their situation has in common with that of disadvantaged 'native whites' in post-industrial economies. This paper attempts to build a theoretical bridge between these two strands of literature, and provides, in a first step, evidence as to the incidence of working poverty among immigrants (and 'ethnic' minorities when the information is available) across welfare regimes. In a second step, the impact of the citizenship status, the country of birth (and of 'race' in the US) is assessed, when the main working poverty factors and the main forms of labour market discrimination are controlled for. Interestingly, these variables have a significant impact in these models; hence, further factors must be at play, and some hypotheses are discussed, especially the role of 'ethnic economies'.
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