Wage Differences between Polish and Romanian Intra-EU Migrants in a Flexi-Secure Labour Market: An Over-Time Perspective

Jonas Felbo-Kolding, Janine Leschke*

*Corresponding author for this work

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By merging longitudinal register data and a customised survey, this article explores whether sectoral segmentation, migrants’ pre- and post-migration human capital and social structures, shape wages of Polish and Romanian long-term migrants to Denmark. Pronounced wage differences in favour of Polish migrants are evident in the first two years in Denmark, notwithstanding the same regulatory context under the free movement of labour in the EU. Wage differences persist – albeit at a considerably lower level – throughout the eight-year period, mainly because of significant sectoral segmentation. Sectoral segmentation not explained by demographics, pre-migration human capital or crisis effects, might indicate categorical stereotyping by employers. Regarding (co-ethnic) social networks, at least for the early stages of migration, the study does not find significant effects on wages. While the evidence shows a positive return on wages of formal higher education taken post migration, this is not the case for further training and Danish language education.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)877-896
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: December 17, 2021.


  • Categorical stereotyping
  • CEE migrants
  • Denmark
  • Human capital
  • Intra-EU labour mobility
  • Poles
  • Register and survey data
  • Romanians
  • Social networks
  • Wages

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