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Are Refugees Different from Economic Immigrants? Some Empirical Evidence on the Heterogeneity of Immigrant Groups in the United States

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  • Kalena E. Cortes

    (Princeton University)

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    Abstract

    This paper analyzes how the implicit difference in time horizons between refugees and economic immigrants affects subsequent human capital investments and wage assimilation. The analysis uses the 1980 and 1990 Integrated Public Use Samples of the Census to study labor market outcomes of immigrants who arrived in the United States from 1975 to 1980. I find that in 1980 refugee immigrants in this cohort earned 6% less and worked 14% fewer hours than economic immigrants. Both had approximately the same level of English skills. The two immigrant groups had made substantial gains by 1990; however, refugees had made greater gains. In fact, the labor market outcomes of refugee immigrants surpassed those of economic immigrants. In 1990, refugees from the 1975-1980 arrival cohort earned 20% more, worked 4% more hours, and improved their English skills by 11% relative to economic immigrants. The higher rates of human capital accumulation for refugee immigrants contribute to these findings. © 2004 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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    File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/003465304323031058
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Review of Economics and Statistics.

    Volume (Year): 86 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 2 (May)
    Pages: 465-480

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    Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:86:y:2004:i:2:p:465-480

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    Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

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    Cited by:
    1. Paul W. Miller & Barry R. Chiswick, 2006. "Why is the Payoff to Schooling Smaller for Immigrants?," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 06-03, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    2. Bandiera, Oriana & Rasul, Imran & Viarengo, Martina, 2013. "The Making of Modern America: Migratory Flows in the Age of Mass Migration," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 23-47.
    3. Christian Dustmann & Albrecht Glitz, 2011. "Migration and Education," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1105, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    4. Lemos, Sara, 2013. "Immigrant economic assimilation: Evidence from UK longitudinal data between 1978 and 2006," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 339-353.
    5. Michael A. Clemens & Claudio E. Montenegro & Lant Pritchett, 2010. "The Place Premium: Wage Differences for Identical Workers across the US Border," Working Papers wp321, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
    6. Christian Dustmann, 2008. "Return Migration, Investment in Children, and Intergenerational Mobility: Comparing Sons of Foreign- and Native-Born Fathers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(2), pages 299-324.
    7. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2007. "The Critical Period Hypothesis for Language Learning: What the 2000 US Census Says," IZA Discussion Papers 2575, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Ying Pan, 2012. "The Impact of Legal Status on Immigrants’ Earnings and Human Capital: Evidence from the IRCA 1986," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 119-142, June.
    9. Christian Dustmann & Joseph-Simon Görlach, 2014. "Selective Outmigration and the Estimation of Immigrants' Earnings Profiles," CESifo Working Paper Series 4617, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Anh Tram Le & Paul W. Miller & Barry R. Chiswick, 2006. "The Immigrant-Native Born Earnings Gap in the US: a Quantile Regression Analysis and International Comparison," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 06-04, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    11. Chiswick, Barry R. & Le, Anh T. & Miller, Paul W., 2006. "How Immigrants Fare Across the Earnings Distribution: International Analyses," IZA Discussion Papers 2405, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Sébastien Jean & Orsetta Causa & Miguel Jimenez & Isabelle Wanner, 2010. "Migration and labour market outcomes in OECD countries," Working Papers 181422, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.

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