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Labour market segmentation in the Swedish welfare state: Evidence of a migrant division of labour?

24th October 2012 12.30pm, Ladywell House, Edinburgh

Robert Macpherson, University of St Andrews and Umea University

While a vast body of literature concerning migrant and ethnic divisions of labour is evident in the UK and the US, in Sweden where increasing immigrant numbers have coincided with their decreasing economic integration, less attention has been given to the particular sectors in which they work. Inspired by the work of Wills et al. (2010) who argue that there is a new migrant division of labour in London as a result of increased immigration and occupational polarisation, this study aims to address the following research questions: 1) is there a migrant division of labour in Sweden? 2) has the division of labour changed as a result of recession? 3) is there a geography to the division of labour that is evident in terms of urban versus rural labour markets? and, 4) is there evidence to suggest that the geography has changed over time? Using individual register data for the working-age population during three different economic periods, the analysis suggest that there is a division of labour based along immigrant groups with a geographical distinction between urban and rural areas. However, while long-term structural processes appear to have changed this, the impacts of the recent recession are less clear.