The Impact of Social Networks on Immigrants’ Employment Prospects: The Spanish case 1997-2007

Research question: To what extent do social networks influence immigrants’ employment stability and wages in Spain?

inmigrationSince the late 1990s Spain has witnessed a notorious increase in its number of immigrants, especially from Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. The ability of the country to integrate these immigrants into the economy is crucial, not only during periods of expansion but also during crises.

The literature has found in other countries that have experienced a large inflow of immigrants that social networks are a key factor in helping immigrants to find jobs. But there is no empirical consensus on whether these networks actually help to find good and well paid jobs.

The aim of this project is to consider an aspect that has not been addressed previously in the empirical literature. That is how important are social networks in integrating immigrants to the Spanish labour market. For this purpose, a nationally representative survey of immigrants is analysed. This survey is the first of its kind conducted in Spain, and contains information about immigrants’ status in 2007 and since their arrival.

The preliminary analysis suggests that immigrants experience a mismatch in the labour market, particularly on their arrival to the country. Nonetheless, social networks do affect positively the chances of immigrants finding stable jobs. Social networks also help women to get jobs that are better paid, but the opposite occurs for men.

Researcher: Luciana Méndez Errico (UAB).

Output: Méndez Errico, Luciana. 2013.  The Impacts of Social Networks on Immigrants’ Employment Prospects: The Spanish Case 1997-2007, Department of Applied Economics, UAB, working paper 2013-01.

Keywords: Immigration, social networks, labour market, Africa, Latin America.


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