We study a reform that granted European cross-border workers free access to the Swiss labor market. Our Differences-in-Differences estimations leverage the fact that regions close to the border were affected more intensely and earlier. The greater availability of cross-border workers increased their employment but also wages and possibly employment of highly educated native workers although the new cross-border workers were also highly educated. The reason is a simultaneous increase in labor demand in skill-intensive firms: the reform increased the size, productivity, innovation performance of some incumbent firms, attracted new firms, and created opportunities for natives to pursue managerial jobs.
The Abolition of Immigration Restrictions and the Performance of Firms and Workers: Evidence from Switzerland
NBER Working Paper No. 25302