Current research

Labour Immigration and Union Strength
with Marianne Røed and Pål Schøne
To what extent is labour mobility in the European Union a threat to the strength of unions? We argue that the combination of cheap labour, workforce heterogeneity, and low unionization among labour immigrants’ is a potential challenge for unions. The challenge will be particularly severe if immigrant competition affects natives’ propensity to unionize. We examine this claim using Norwegian administrative data in a natural experiment framework. The 2004 EU expansion led to a rapid increase in labour migration to the construction sector. Licensing demands, however, protected some workers from immigrant competition. Comparisons of protected and exposed workers reveal negative labour market effects of the EU expansion for exposed workers, but no effect on union membership. Our results question important theories of unionization and are relevant for research on immigration, political behaviour and collective action.

How Settlement Locations and Local Networks Influence Immigrant Political Integration
with Bernt Bratsberg, Jeremy Ferwerda, and Andreas Kotsadam
To what extent do early experiences in the host country shape the political integration of immigrants? We argue that the initial neighborhoods immigrants settle in establish patterns of behavior that shape downstream political participation. Drawing on Norwegian administrative register data, we leverage quasi-exogenous variation in the placement of quota refugees to assess the consequences of assignment to particular neighborhoods. We find that the difference in electoral turnout between refugees initially placed in 20th and 80th percentile neighborhoods is 12.6 percentage points, which is 47 percent of the observed gap between refugees and residents. To assess the mechanism, we draw on individual-level data on all neighbors present at the time of each refugees’ arrival, and evaluate the relative impact of local socioeconomic characteristics and available social networks. Our findings suggest that while neighborhood socioeconomic factors play a limited role, early exposure to politically engaged peer networks increases immigrants’ subsequent electoral participation.

Taxing the Rich or Insuring the Poor
with Erling Barth and Kalle Moene
Surprisingly, egalitarian countries have the least progressive taxes, but the most generous social insurance. We provide micro motives and an empirical test of the political demands for social insurance versus redistributive taxation. Using data from the US General Social Survey, we first replicate the well-known negative correlation between income and support for public transfers in cross sectional data. Next, we show that for social insurance this correlation turns positive once we control for the individual’s relative position in the income distribution. We do not find this pattern for typical redistribution programs.

The Effects of Small group Instruction in Mathematics for Pupils in Lower Elementary School
with a team of researchers from NIFU, ISF, and NTNU
We conduct a randomized controlled trial where schools in the treatment group receive resources to hire an additional teacher to teach mathematics in small groups of pupils in lower elementary school. The project includes 160 schools from ten municipalities, randomized into equally sized treatment and control groups using stratified randomization. The project runs for four school years, with cross-cohort variation in the intensity and timing of treatment. The main outcome variable is test scores in the national tests in fifth grade, but we also collect our own pre-treatment and end-of-the-year test scores to measure short term effects. The analysis of test scores in fifth grade is pre-registered in a pre-analysis plan.

The Immigrant-Native Gap in Union Membership: A Question of Time, Sorting or Culture?
with Sara Cools and Magnus Rasmussen
Immigrant integration into trade unions may well be considered an indicator of social integration. In this paper we study how quickly immigrants’ unionisation rates catch up with that of natives, and the role of labour market skills, labour market sorting, and culture for the immigrant-native gap. We use high-quality population-wide administrative data from Norway, which allow a more rigid analysis than the survey data used in previous research. We find that immigrants’ unionisation rates catch up slowly on average, and some groups never catch up. Sorting in the labour market is the main reason for slow catch-up, as immigrants tend to be employed in firms and industries with lower levels of unionization. We find significant differences between immigrants depending on their country of origin, but these differences can largely be accounted for by individual characteristics, and do not extend to the second generation. We conclude that existing research has understated the importance of labour market sorting for immigrants’ low unionisation rates.

Ancestry Culture, Assimilation, and Voter Turnout in Two Generations
with Andreas Kotsadam and Javier Polavieja
We study the importance of gender culture for political participation of immigrants and their children using Norwegian administrative register data on voter turnout. Using the so-called epidemiological approach, we compare first and second generation immigrants from different cultures living in similar institutional environments. We find strong evidence of assimilation in the levels of turnout both within and across generations. However, while we find that assimilation in the first generation is strongly related to age at arrival, it is not more so for women. Therefore the effects of gendered ancestry culture completely fades out only across generations. The results suggests that early institutional exposure is important for political assimilation.

Climate Politics in Hard Times: How Local Economic Shocks Influence MPs Attention to Climate Change
with Bjørn Høyland and Martin Søyland

Linguistic Proximity and Workplace Productivity
with Harald Dale-Olsen

Local Immigration and Support for Anti-Immigration Parties: A Meta-Analysis
with Sara Cools and Ole Røgeberg

Do Integration Programs Improve Social Integration?
with Johannes Bergh and Jeremy Ferwerda

%d bloggers like this: