Labor Market Outcomes of Middle Eastern and North African Immigrant Women in Germany

Stefanie Brodmann, Princeton University
Charlotte Moeser, Humboldt University of Berlin

Previous research on the economic activity of immigrant women in the U.S. notes the heterogeneity in women’s employment patterns across ethnic groups. In particular, Iranian and Arab women combine high educational attainment with low rates of employment. This paper provides evidence on the education-employment paradox using census data from Germany. First, we analyze the extent to which human capital and family characteristics explain differences in labor market outcomes of immigrant women from Iraq, Iran, Morocco, North Africa and Turkey compared to Germans. Specifically, we analyze labor force participation, unemployment, occupational status and earnings patterns. Second, we study within-group variation in the ability to translate human capital endowments into economic activity. In line with previous research for the U.S., preliminary results indicate an education-employment paradox for Iranian and Iraqi women. In contrast, however, we find that education is not a good predictor of within-group variation in labor force participation for Iranian and Arab women.

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Presented in Session 64: Arabs Here and Abroad