Immigrant Networks in the Labor Market

freeway from above

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Speaker: Carlos Mesa Guerra (PhD candidate at Cornell University)

Title: Immigrant Networks in the Labor Market

Abstract: Using unique survey data linked to social security records and the large influx of
Venezuelan immigrants to Colombia in recent years, this paper reexamines the role played by
referral networks in the labor market. By explicitly accounting for both the urban and the social
space, this paper provides new insights into the mismatch between the residential location and
labor outcomes of immigrants. Referrals are a critical source of information about available jobs
for immigrants, particularly for recent arrivals, but struggle to improve the quality of the match
between firms and workers. The misalignment between where immigrants live and where they
can find suitable employment opportunities reinforces occupational downgrading and increases
the persistence of informal employment.

View a recording of the seminar here. 

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