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International Handbook on the Economics of Migration

  • Elgar original reference

Edited by Amelie F. Constant and Klaus F. Zimmermann

Migration economics is a dynamic, fast-growing research area with significant and rising policy relevance. While its scope is continually extending, there is no authoritative treatment of its various branches in one volume. Written by 44 leading experts in the field, this carefully commissioned and refereed Handbook brings together 28 state-of-the-art chapters on migration research and related issues.
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Chapter 11: Immigrants in risky occupations

Pia M. Orrenius and Madeline Zavodny


Although immigrants can be found in virtually every occupation across the globe, many immigrants hold ‘three D’ jobs: jobs that are dirty, dangerous and difficult. Risky jobs may be attractive to immigrants who have low skills, little education and limited fluency in the host country language. These jobs also may pay more than other jobs immigrants would hold in the host country. A growing literature examines whether immigrants are disproportionately employed in risky jobs and, if so, why. This chapter surveys the literature on immigrant–native differences in occupational risk. After a brief explanation of the economic theory of occupational risk and compensating differentials, the chapter surveys the literature on whether immigrants are disproportionately employed in risky jobs and whether they are more likely than natives to experience work-related injuries or fatalities. It then discusses the limited literature on immigrant–native differences in risk premiums. It closes with a discussion of areas for future research.

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