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The Occupations and Human Capital of U.S. Immigrants

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  • Todd Schoellman

Abstract

This paper estimates the multi-dimensional human capital endowments of immigrants by characterizing their occupational decisions. This approach allows for estimation of physical skill and cognitive ability endowments, which are difficult to measure directly. Estimation implies that immigrants as a whole are abundant in cognitive ability and scarce in experience/training and communication skills. Counterfactual estimates of the wage impacts of immigration are skewed: the largest gain from preventing immigration is 3.2% higher wages, but the largest loss is 0.3% lower wages. Crowding of immigrants into select occupations plays a minor role in explaining these impacts; occupations’ skill attributes explain the bulk.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels in its series EERI Research Paper Series with number EERI_RP_2009_19.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 08 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eei:rpaper:eeri_rp_2009_19

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Keywords: Human Capital; Migration.;

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References

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  1. Gathmann, Christina & Schönberg, Uta, 2007. "How General Is Human Capital? A Task-Based Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 3067, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Borjas, George J., 1999. "The economic analysis of immigration," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1697-1760 Elsevier.
  3. David Card, 1997. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," NBER Working Papers 5927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2008. "Highly-Educated Immigrants and Native Occupational Choice," CReAM Discussion Paper Series, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London 0813, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  5. David Autor & Frank Levy & Richard Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  6. Hendricks, Lutz A., 2002. "How Important is Human Capital for Development? Evidence from Immigrant Earnings," Staff General Research Papers, Iowa State University, Department of Economics 11409, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  7. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 9755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Arnaud Costinot & Lindsay Oldenski & James Rauch, 2011. "Adaptation and the Boundary of Multinational Firms," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(1), pages 298-308, February.
  9. Dougherty, C R S, 1972. "Estimates of Labor Aggregation Functions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(6), pages 1101-19, Nov.-Dec..
  10. Ottaviano, Gianmarco Ireo Paolo & Peri, Giovanni, 2007. "The Effects of Immigration on US Wages and Rents: A General Equilibrium Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 6551, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Edward P. Lazear, 2003. "Firm-Specific Human Capital: A Skill-Weights Approach," NBER Working Papers 9679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Ingram, Beth F. & Neumann, George R., 2006. "The returns to skill," Labour Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 35-59, February.
  13. Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2006. "Technical Change, Job Tasks, and Rising Educational Demands: Looking outside the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 235-270, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Todd Schoellman & Sean Mulholland & Robert Tamura & Chad Turner, 2010. "How Important are Human Capital, Physical Capital and Total Factor Productivity for Determining State Economic Growth in the United States, 1840-2000," 2010 Meeting Papers, Society for Economic Dynamics 839, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Michelle Rendall, 2012. "Structural change in developing countries: has it decreased gender inequality?," ECON - Working Papers, Department of Economics - University of Zurich 077, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  3. Luca Marchiori & Patrice Pieretti & Benteng Zou, 2014. "Immigration, occupational choice and public employment," CREA Discussion Paper Series, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg 14-15, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
  4. Michelle Rendall, 2010. "The service sector and female market work," IEW - Working Papers, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich 492, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich, revised Feb 2014.
  5. d'Artis Kancs & Julia Kielyte, 2010. "European Integration and Labour Migration," EERI Research Paper Series, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels EERI_RP_2010_27, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
  6. Elisa Keller, 2013. "Occupational Complexity, Experience, and the Gender Wage Gap," 2013 Meeting Papers, Society for Economic Dynamics 348, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Pedro Silos & Eric Smith, 2012. "Human capital portfolios," Working Paper, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta 2012-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

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