Accounting for Big-City Growth in Low-Paid Occupations: Immigration and/or Service-Class Consumption
Article first published online: 1 AUG 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Economic Geography published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Clark University.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Volume 90, Issue 1, pages 67–90, January 2014
How to Cite
Gordon, I. R. and Kaplanis, I. (2014), Accounting for Big-City Growth in Low-Paid Occupations: Immigration and/or Service-Class Consumption. Economic Geography, 90: 67–90. doi: 10.1111/ecge.12026
- Issue published online: 10 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 1 AUG 2013
- Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
- Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS)
- Welsh Assembly Government
- global cities thesis;
- migrant labor;
- labor markets;
- untraded services
The growth of “global cities” in the 1980s was supposed to have involved an occupational polarization, including the increase in low-paid service jobs. Although held to be untrue for European cities at the time, some such growth did emerge in London a decade later than first reported for New York. The question is whether there was simply a delay before London conformed to the global city model or whether another distinct cause was at work in both cases. This article proposes that the critical factor in both cases was actually an upsurge of immigration from poor countries that provided an elastic supply of cheap labor. This hypothesis and its counterpart based on the growth in elite jobs are tested econometrically for the British case with regional data spanning 1975–2008, finding some support for both effects, but with immigration from poor countries as the crucial influence in late 1990s London.