A production-theory approach to migration is adopted in this paper to address the role of migrant workers from extra-EU countries in Italian manufacturing firms. The adoption of flexible functional forms to model firm-level technology lets us directly derive different measures of elasticity from the coefficients of the estimated production and cost functions. The use of foreign labour is shown to affect the industry composition in favour of low skill intensive sectors and the estimated cross demand elasticities confirm the complementarity between migrant and native workers found in previous studies. However, the two labour inputs prove to be substitutes in terms of the Morishima elasticity of substitution: in general, firms tend to increase the foreign labour intensity of production in response to a decline in migrants’ wage, while the migrant to domestic labour ratio responds to changes in the domestic workers’ wage only for firms in low skill intensive sectors.
- Migrant workers
- Output elasticity
- Morishima elasticity of substitution