Immigration and the cost of ethnic subordination: the case of Israeli society

Moshe Semyonov, Rebeca Raijman, Dina Maskileyson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study focuses on earnings disadvantages experienced by three ethnic groups of Jewish immigrants in Israel. Data were obtained from the 2011 Income Survey gathered by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. The findings reveal that when compared to Israeli-born, all ethnic groups are disadvantaged in earnings attainment in the first generation. The earnings disadvantages of immigrants as compared to Israeli-born decrease with the passage of time and become negligible in the second generation. To disentangle the impact on earnings penalty of ethnic origin from that of immigrant status, a procedure for decomposing mean differences between groups is introduced. The analysis reveals that earnings disadvantage among Ashkenazim and Soviet immigrants can be attributed to immigrant status but not to ethnicity. By contrast, earnings penalties among Sephardim immigrants can be attributed to both ethnicity and immigrant status. The implications of the long-lasting effect of ethnicity versus the short-term effect of immigrant status are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)994-1013
Number of pages20
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2 May 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Taylor & Francis.


  • Earnings inequality
  • ethnicity
  • immigration
  • Israel
  • labour market
  • stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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