Abstract

While much of the literature on immigrants' assimilation has focused on countries with a large tradition of receiving immigrants and with flexible labor markets, very little is known on how immigrants adjust to other types of host economies. With its severe dual labor market, and an unprecedented immigration boom, Spain presents a quite unique experience to analyze immigrations' assimilation process. Using data from the 2000 to 2008 Labor Force Survey, we find that immigrants are more occupationally mobile than natives, and that much of this greater flexibility is explained by immigrants' assimilation process soon after arrival. However, we find little evidence of convergence, especially among women and high skilled immigrants. This suggests that instead of integrating, immigrants occupationally segregate, providing evidence consistent with both imperfect substitutability and immigrants' human capital being under-valued. Additional evidence on the assimilation of earnings and the incidence of permanent employment by different skill levels also supports the hypothesis of segmented labor markets.