The labor market participation of recently-arrived immigrant women in Germany
Objective: This article investigates the role of motivation in female immigrants' labour force participation. Focusing on recently-arrived immigrants (who have resided in the host country for 18 months or less), we compare the outcomes of two different ethnic groups in Germany: Poles and Turks.
Background: The immigrant integration literature tends to focus on the role of resources in immigrant labour market integration. However, when examining particularly the labour force participation of female immigrants, their motivation for joining the labour force is also important. Previous studies of female immigrants in Germany have often neglected this consideration, which includes aspects like culturally-specific gender values and perceived ethnic discrimination.
Method: We use data from the SCIP project (Diehl et al., 2015) to conduct logistic regressions on female immigrants’ labour force participation. Our sample includes 829 female immigrants from Poland and Turkey between the ages of 18-60, who were either active in the labour force or were 'at risk' of entering.
Results: In line with previous studies, our analysis shows that female immigrants' labour market resources, mainly their prior work experience and German proficiency, greatly reduce the ethnic gap in labour force participation rates. Moreover, motivational factors have a large impact on this outcome for both groups, and greatly enhance the picture that our empirical models present. However, we find no evidence that perceived ethnic discrimination plays an important role.
Conclusion: Our analysis indicates that when seeking to understand the labour market participation of female immigrants, their resources and motivation should be seen as key components of a gender-sensitive analysis.
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