Labour Market Assimilation and Over-Education: The Case of Immigrant Workers in Italy

Carlo Dell'Aringa2, Laura Pagani 1
1UniversitÓ di Milano Bicocca, Italy, 2UniversitÓ Cattolica, Italy

In this paper we study the assimilation of immigrants into the Italian labour market using over-education as an indicator of labour market performance. The main objective is to assess the extent to which work experience in the host country’s labour market favours the international transferability of immigrants' human capital. Using data from the Istat Labour Force Survey for the years 2005-2007, we find that foreigners are much more likely to be over-educated than natives upon their arrival in Italy and that work experience gained in the country of origin is not valued in the Italian labour market. Moreover, we find that not even experience acquired in Italy is helpful in improving immigrants' educational job matches, suggesting that catch-up by foreigners seems unachievable, even after they adapt their skills to the host country labour market.

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