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External Colloquium: Silvia Maja Melzer (Bielefeld University)

Wanneer:di 21-11-2017 13:00 - 14:15
Waar:B.0128, Grote Rozenstraat 31, 9712 TG Groningen

Silvia Maja Melzer (Bielefeld University, Germany): First and Second Generation Immigrants at the German Labor Market: A Relational Inequality Approach

We conceptualize immigrant incorporation as a categorically driven process, contrasting the bright distinctions between first generation immigrants and natives, with more blurry second generation contrasts. We analyze linked employer-employee data for a large sample of employees in 97 large organizations in Germany and focus on non-European Union 15 immigrants. We explore how generational status, labor market and workplace contexts expand or mitigate native-immigrant wage inequalities. We find a substantial average first generation immigrant-native wage gap, which is not explained by individual human capital differences or most aspects of the organizational context. In contrast, there is on average no second generation wage gap, but substantial variation across workplaces. The earnings of 2G immigrants are more influenced by individual and organizational characteristics. Our results indicate, that first generation immigrants’ earnings are mainly driven by competition processes – first generation immigrants’ earnings are lower relative to comparable native Germans in predominantly immigrant organizations. In contrast, increased contact between native Germans and their second generation immigrant colleagues seem to reduce earnings gaps, but only up to a tipping point of 31% of immigrants, after which competition processes reappear. Moreover, second generation immigrants do better in workplaces where they have intersectional advantages over natives and in upper-tier jobs. In lower-tier jobs second generation immigrants look more like first generation immigrants, especially when they are employed in high inequality or low collective bargaining workplaces.

Silvia Maja Melzer is currently working as a Post-doc at the Faculty of Sociology at the Bielefeld University. She defended her dissertation with the title “Causes and Consequences of the Gender Specific Migration from East to West Germany” in January 2014. Her research focuses on social structures and social inequality at the labor market, in particular she investigates the role of firms for the genesis of income inequality. She has published in international journals as the European Sociological Review, European Society, Industrial and Labor Relations Review and the Journal of Marriage and Family. The talk will be based on shared work with Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, Reinhard Schuck and Peter Jacobebbinghaus.

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