The Economic History Review

The occupational attainment of migrants and natives in Barcelona, 1930

Volume 68 Issue 3
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Pages: 985-1015Authors: Javier Silvestre, María Isabel Ayuda, Vicente Pinilla
Published online: January 12, 2015DOI: 10.1111/ehr.12090

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Very few empirical studies have analysed the labour market performance of migrants in European countries in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This article uses a rich new micro-dataset to examine the occupational attainment of migrants, mostly internal migrants, in the city of Barcelona, a key destination from the late nineteenth century onwards, adding to the literature on internal migrations in Spain during the period of industrialization. The study shows that the occupational outcomes achieved by early migrants tended to match those of natives, the reference group. However, some groups of migrants who arrived at the end of the period covered by the study show poorer outcomes than natives. The relative underachievement of these groups is explained by changes in the type of migrants and in the characteristics of the labour market. Our estimates also suggest that Spanish migrants did not experience upward occupational mobility after settling in Barcelona.