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Why Do Skilled Immigrants Struggle in the Labor Market? A Field Experiment with Thirteen Thousand Resumes

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  • Philip Oreopoulos

Abstract

Thousands of randomly manipulated resumes were sent in response to online job postings in Toronto to investigate why immigrants, allowed in based on skill, struggle in the labor market. The study finds substantial discrimination across a variety of occupations towards applicants with foreign experience or those with Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, and Greek names compared with English names. Listing language fluency, multinational firm experience, education from highly selective schools, or active extracurricular activities had no diminishing effect. Recruiters justify this behavior based on language skill concerns but fail to fully account for offsetting features when listed. (JEL J15, J24, J61)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 148-71

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:3:y:2011:i:4:p:148-71

Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.3.4.148
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  1. David Card & Richard B. Freeman, 1993. "Introduction to "Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States"," NBER Chapters, in: Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States, pages 1-20 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lubotsky, D., 2000. "Chutes or Ladders? A Longitudinal Analysis of Immigrant Earnings," Papers 195, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
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  6. Jacquemet, Nicolas & Yannelis, Constantine, 2012. "Indiscriminate discrimination: A correspondence test for ethnic homophily in the Chicago labor market," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 824-832.
  7. Charles Beach & Alan G. Green & Christopher Worswick, 2006. "Impacts of the Point System and Immigration Policy Levers on Skill Characteristics of Canadian Immigrants," Working Papers 1115, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  8. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00587674 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 991-1013, September.
  10. Aydemir, Abdurrahman & Skuterud, Mikal, 2004. "Explaining the Deteriorating Entry Earnings of Canada's Immigrant Cohorts: 1966-2000," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2004225e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  11. Joseph Schaafsma & Arthur Sweetman, 2001. "Immigrant earnings: age at immigration matters," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1066-1099, November.
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  13. Fryer Roland & Jackson Matthew O., 2008. "A Categorical Model of Cognition and Biased Decision Making," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-44, February.
  14. Ana Ferrer & W. Craig Riddell, 2008. "Education, credentials, and immigrant earnings," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(1), pages 186-216, February.
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  16. Morissette, Rene & Frenette, Marc, 2003. "Will They Ever Converge? Earnings of Immigrants and Canadian-born Workers over the Last Two Decades," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2003215e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  17. Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2010. "Automatic associations and discrimination in hiring: Real world evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 523-534, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Jacquemet, Nicolas & Yannelis, Constantine, 2012. "Indiscriminate discrimination: A correspondence test for ethnic homophily in the Chicago labor market," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 824-832.
  2. Weichselbaumer, Doris, 2013. "Testing for Discrimination against Lesbians of Different Marital Status: A Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 7425, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Morten Hedegaard & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2014. "The Price of Prejudice," Discussion Papers 14-05, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  4. John M. Nunley & Adam Pugh & Nicholas Romero & Richard Alan Seals, Jr., 2014. "Unemployment, Underemployment, and Employment Opportunities: Results from a Correspondence Audit of the Labor Market for College Graduates," Auburn Economics Working Paper Series auwp2014-04, Department of Economics, Auburn University.
  5. Daldy, Bridget & Poot, Jacques & Roskruge, Matthew, 2013. "Perception of Workplace Discrimination among Immigrants and Native Born New Zealanders," IZA Discussion Papers 7504, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Sweetman, A. & Ours, J.C. van, 2014. "Immigration: What About the Children and Grandchildren?," Discussion Paper 2014-009, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  7. John M. Nunley & Adam Pugh & Nicholas Romero & Richard Alan Seals, Jr., 2014. "An Examination of Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market for Recent College Graduates: Estimates from the Field," Auburn Economics Working Paper Series auwp2014-06, Department of Economics, Auburn University.
  8. William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln & Prachi Mishra, 2011. "The Dynamics of Firm Lobbying," NBER Working Papers 17577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. John M. Nunley & Adam Pugh & Nicholas Romero & Richard Alan Seals, Jr., 2014. "College Major, Internship Experience, and Employment Opportunities: Estimates from a Résumé Audit," Auburn Economics Working Paper Series auwp2014-03, Department of Economics, Auburn University.
  10. Kuhn, Peter J. & Shen, Kailing, 2014. "Do Employers Prefer Undocumented Workers? Evidence from China's Hukou System," IZA Discussion Papers 8289, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00935241 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Jennifer Hunt, 2013. "Are Immigrants the Best and Brightest U.S. Engineers?," NBER Working Papers 18696, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Liliana D. Sousa, 2013. "Human Capital Traps? Enclave Effects Using Linked Employer-Household Data," Working Papers 13-29, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

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