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Institutional Capital and Labour Devaluation: The Non-Recognition of Foreign Credentials in Germany

Harald Bauder

Abstract

The non-recognition of foreign credentials channels many international migrants into occupations below their skill levels. I examine processes of credential devaluation among so-called Spätaussiedler who migrated from Eastern Europe to Germany. An empirical study, involving an interview survey of NGO administrators, government bureaucrats, and employers in Berlin, suggests that institutional processes of credential recognition are intertwined with cultural processes of distinction. The study illustrates how institutional labour market regulation links with forces of social reproduction and the cultural exclusion of migrants.

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