Skip to main content

Ruhr Economic Papers #928

Task Specialization and the Native-Foreign Wage Gap: Evidence from Worker-level Data

Running RIF regressions to decompose wage differences along the distribution, this is the first study documenting that worker-level variation in tasks has played a key role in the widening of the German Native-Foreign Wage Gap. Comparing variation in Individual- vs Occupation-level task measures suggests idiosyncratic differences account for up to 34% of the explained wage gap. Importantly, natives specialize in high-paying interactive activities not only between but also within occupations. In contrast, foreign workers specialize in low-paying manual activities. This enhanced degree of task specialization accounts for 11% of the gap near the top of the distribution and 25% near the bottom, thus offering new insight into sources for imperfect substitution of native and foreign workers in the production function and consequently small migration-induced wage effects.

ISBN: 978-3-96973-086-7

JEL-Klassifikation: J15, J21, J24, J31, J61

Link to the document