Projekt Projekt
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Immigrant Performance in the Labour Market: The Role of Bonding and Bridging Social Capital

Migration, Integration und interkulturelle Konflikte
Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung

Theoretical background and objectives

There is a growing body of research that examines the relation between immigrants’ social capital and their labour market performance. More specifically, the difference between bonding and bridging social capital is addressed. The general conclusion is that social capital, especially that of the bridging type, contributes to a better position on the labour market. However, it is not clear to what extent this relation can be generalized to other European countries, or whether it is rather subject to contextual characteristics. In other words, it is not known to what extent macro-level determinants influence the returns to one’s individual social capital. To date, no cross-national study on the economic returns of immigrants’ social capital exits. The current proposal aims to carry out such a study.

Secondly, an ongoing question in integration research is how ethnic minorities perform in the labour market in comparison to the native population. Such relative disadvantages are often referred to as ethnic penalties. Net ethnic penalties signal ethnic inequality and are often interpreted as evidence for discrimination (but see for a discussion Phalet & Heath 2010). Previous work shows that net penalties are considerable, both for the first and subsequent generations. A pressing question in migration studies is how features of the receiving society matter for the incorporation of immigrants and their descendants. This project contributes to the existing literature by empirically testing explanations for cross-national variation in ethnic penalties.