Trends, Patterns and Control
Edited by Heinz Fassmann, Max Haller and David Lane
Chapter 3: Shortage of Skilled Workers: Myths and Realities
Franz Heschl INTRODUCTION 3.1 In the last twenty years the impact of migration on the labour market has become a subject of research. The methods and concepts used to study migration differ in various aspects, with the results being strongly influenced by the underlying assumptions. Trying to sum up the results of the approaches – if only cursorily and thus fragmentarily – one could note some key points:1 The macroeconomic impacts of migration or the cumulated effects of immigration on labour markets are relatively small; such a general view, however, obscures the distribution effects. These effects depend on the current wage system: if this system is very flexible, wages are more likely to change; if the system is more rigid, it is rather the unemployment rates which will change. In many cases, migration leads to the redistribution of income from employees to the owners of capital. Among a group of employees, the level of qualification determines the direction and extent of how an individual is affected. Immigration also brings with it a redistribution of wealth from employees who compete with immigrants for persons who use or consume the services of immigrants. The social foundations and the societal impact of these redistribution processes are of great importance. It would be beneficial to know how different groups in society bring up migration issues against the backdrop of various interests in the public media debate and which instruments they use for doing so. This chapter proposes an answer to the public debate about immigration...
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