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The Social Rate of Return to Investing in Character: An Economic Evaluation of Alberta's Immigrant Access Fund Small Loan Progr

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  • Herbert Emery

    (University of Calgary)

  • Ana Ferrer

    (University of Calgary)

Abstract

Skilled immigrants have been identified as a key source of labour supply for addressing the expected labour market shortages in Canada arising from an aging population and strong economic growth. The integration of immigrants into the workforce often requires that they have the necessary accreditation to work at their chosen occupation. However, credential recognition has proven to be a significant labour market barrier for skilled immigrants. We estimate the social rate of return of investing in immigrant credentials by analyzing the results of the the Immigrant Access Fund (IAF), an institution providing small loans on a not for profit basis to assist Alberta immigrants in acquiring the Canadian accreditation and training they need to work their field of expertise. Under very conservative assumptions, our assessment of the average social return to the IAF loan program demonstrates that this is a very high return social program with annual real rates of return of 33% or more. These returns are even higher for higher earning occupations such as health and engineering.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Calgary in its series Working Papers with number 2012-01.

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Date of creation: 28 Feb 2012
Date of revision: 28 Feb 2012
Handle: RePEc:clg:wpaper:2012-01

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  1. Michal Bauer & Julie Chytilova & Jonathan Morduch, 2012. "Behavioral Foundations of Microcredit: Experimental and Survey Evidence from Rural India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 1118-39, April.
  2. Green, David A. & Worswick, Christopher, 2012. "Immigrant earnings profiles in the presence of human capital investment: Measuring cohort and macro effects," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 241-259.
  3. Worswick, C. & Beach, C.M., 1990. "Is There a Double-Negative Effect on the Earnings of Immigrant Women?," Papers 1990-6, Queen's at Kingston - Sch. of Indus. Relat. Papers in Industrial Relations.
  4. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1995. "Group lending, repayment incentives and social collateral," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-18, February.
  5. Emery, J.C. Herbert & Crutcher, Rodney A. & Harrison, Alexandra C.M. & Wright, Howard, 2006. "Social rates of return to investment in skills assessment and residency training of international medical graduates in Alberta," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 79(2-3), pages 165-174, December.
  6. Ana Ferrer & David A. Green & W. Craig Riddell, 2006. "The Effect of Literacy on Immigrant Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(2).
  7. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1994. "The Performance of Immigrants in the Canadian Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(3), pages 369-405, July.
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