Immigrant Employment Integration and Structural Change in Sweden, 1970-1995

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This study deals with the employment integration of immigrant men and women in Sweden between 1970 and 1995. The first chapter starts with a review of theory and previous studies on immigrant employment and from this a number of testable hypotheses are framed The second chapter gives an overview of Swedish immigration history, the composition of the immigrant population and the economic background in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. Furthermore, a discussion on the employment variable in Swedish statistics is undertaken. The third chapter contains an analysis of education and family-related factors on the employment integration of immigrants, in 1970 and 1990 using cross-sectional data. The fourth chapter is a more detailed study of immigrants’ investment in country-specific skills and commitment affecting the probability of obtaining employment in 1970 and 1990. The fifth chapter contains a longitudinal study, where the effects of structural change and education on the employment attachment of immigrant men and women are analysed. The results of the longitudinal study are related to the cross-sectional analysis in chapters three and four. Finally, in the sixth chapter, we sum up the results and make some concluding remarks. The results of the thesis are that the difficulty of obtaining employment for both immigrant men and women has been increasing during the course of the studied period. This difficulty of obtaining employment is found not only to be due to changing human capital characteristics among immigrants but also to changes in the economy. Both business cycle variation and structural changes in the Swedish economy are found to have had a negative influence on the employment integration of immigrants. Especially the technical and organisational changes during the middle of the 1980s and early 1990s, implied a greater demand for employees with a proportionately higher general competence and inter-personal skills. Unskilled labour was to largely made redundant by efficiency improvements. Serial production, automation and specialisation were increasingly replaced by teamwork, influence on working processes and varying assignments. Without reducing the demand for formal education and skill, the importance of informal skills has increased in this way. This informal competence includes, for instance, culture-specific proficiency, language skills, tacit knowledge and understanding of different patterns of behaviour in teamwork and in relations with authorities and labour market organisations. It is also probable that the increased stress on country-specific skills has led to an increase in statistical discrimination by employers.


  • Pieter Bevelander
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic History


  • naturalisation, context of reception, structural change, Sweden, labour market, employment, integration, Migration, immigrant, Social and economic history, Ekonomisk och social historia
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2000 Dec 15
  • Almqvist & Wiksell International
Print ISBNs91-22-01904-9
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2000-12-15 Time: 10:15 Place: Holger Crafoord Ekonomicentrum, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Gustafsson, Björn Title: [unknown] Affiliation: [unknown] ---