Aging migrants, labor market transitions and the welfare state

What is the aim of this research project?

While substantial and persistent immigrant-native disparities in labor market performance and socioeconomic status is a primary concern in the scientific as well as in the policy debate, little attention has so far been devoted to the patterns and determinants of labor market exit and retirement decisions in the growing foreign-born population.

This program aims to further our understanding by combining perspectives and approaches from economics, political science and sociology, bringing together a new constellation of researchers in a strong and very active environment.

Labor market exit can be affected by a wide range of factors, e.g. individual characteristics and labor market position, incentives and opportunities brought by the pension and social security systems, as well as factors related to the country of origin and previous work life experience.

The novelty of the contributions in part relies on applying recent methodological insights and methods on data of exceptional richness and quality. Population-wide administrative data from Sweden allow for detailed investigations of patterns of and explanations to labor market transitions over a long period of time. Comparative investigations using compilations of European-wide surveys address questions at the system level. Qualitative approaches give a deeper understanding how formal and informal institutions exert their influence.

Research team

Olof Åslund

Axel Cronert

Lisa Laun

Joakim Palme


Patterns and determinants of immigrant labor market exit

This project aims at new insights on the labor market exit of immigrants, its development over time and how various factors affect differences to the native population. The project will first document exit patterns from the early 1970s until today. During this time, the structure of the labor market has changed in parallel with altered characteristics of immigration to Sweden.

A second step is to seek explanations to the patterns, e.g. the design of the pension and social insurance systems, individual labor market positions, and workplace related factors. With rich data on earnings, employment and employer characteristics, the analyses can identify factors related to exits, and whether they can explain differences across groups.

Studies using Swedish reforms and labor market information from other countries will further our understanding of how retirement decisions are affected by economic incentives and factors related to the country of origin.

Project leader: Olof Åslund

Other project participants: Lisa Laun


Financier: Forte

Last modified: 2022-02-16