Migration, Class Attainment and Social Mobility. An Analysis of Migrants’ Socio-Economic Integration in Italy

18 March 2021
18 March 2021
Doctoral School of Social Sciences
via Verdi 26, 38122 - Trento
+39 0461 283756 - 2290
+39 0461 282335

Skype: school.socialsciences

Where: Zoom Platform
Time: 2 p.m.

Please contact school.socialsciences [at] unitn.it for the link to the Zoom event.



This article focuses on the socio-economic integration of ethnic minorities in Italy, combining the literature on migration with research on social stratification. We analyse the ethnic penalty on occupational attainment and career mobility, integrating the origin-education-destination theoretical framework with the migration status. Since ethnic penalty is an ‘umbrella concept’, we also quantify the extent to which it is mediated by differences in education and social origin. Furthermore, adopting a diachronic view of immigrants’ class attainment, we verify whether the post-migration downgrading is followed by a recovery during the career, considering also mobility within the working class (standard and non-standard).

Our analyses are based on the Multipurpose Survey on Households and Social Condition and Integration of Foreign Citizens. The results show that migrants are penalized in the Italian labour market, remaining largely ‘trapped’ in the working class. This inclusion at the bottom of the class structure reduces their heterogeneity by education and by social origin. Moreover, their penalty increases during the career, except when they move from the non-standard to the standard working class. Finally, we find that the ‘unexplained’ component of ethnic penalty, net of education and social origin, is substantial and increases from the first to the current job.


  • Vittorio Guida - PhD student in Economics and Management
  • Milena Belloni - FWO Post-doctoral Researcher, University of Antwerp, Human Rights Center- University of Gent