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Do immigrants work in riskier jobs?

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  • Pia M. Orrenius
  • Madeline Zavodny

Abstract

Recent media and government reports suggest that immigrants are more likely to hold jobs with worse working conditions than U.S.-born workers, perhaps because immigrants work in jobs that "natives don’t want." Despite this widespread view, earlier studies have not found immigrants to be in riskier jobs than natives. This study combines individual-level data from the 2003-2005 American Community Survey with Bureau of Labor Statistics data on work-related injuries and fatalities to take a fresh look at whether foreign-born workers are employed in more dangerous jobs. The results indicate that immigrants are in fact more likely to work in risky jobs than U.S.-born workers, partly due to differences in average characteristics, such as immigrants' lower English language ability and educational attainment.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in its series Working Papers with number 0901.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:feddwp:0901

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Keywords: Immigrants ; Human capital ; Labor economics;

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  1. Viscusi, W Kip, 1978. "Wealth Effects and Earnings Premiums for Job Hazards," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(3), pages 408-16, August.
  2. Bonin, Holger & Constant, Amelie F. & Tatsiramos, Konstantinos & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2006. "Ethnic Persistence, Assimilation and Risk Proclivity," IZA Discussion Papers 2537, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Holger Bonin & Amelie Constant & Konstantinos Tatsiramos & Klaus Zimmermann, 2009. "Native-migrant differences in risk attitudes," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(15), pages 1581-1586.
  4. Viscusi, W Kip, 1993. "The Value of Risks to Life and Health," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1912-46, December.
  5. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Hildebrand, Vincent, 2003. "The wealth and asset holdings of U.S.-born and foreign-born households: Evidence from SIPP data," IRISS Working Paper Series 2003-07, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
  6. Antecol, Heather & Bedard, Kelly, 2005. "Unhealthy Assimilation: Why Do Immigrants Converge to American Health Status Levels?," IZA Discussion Papers 1654, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Borjas, George J, 1985. "Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 463-89, October.
  8. Robert S. Smith, 1979. "Compensating wage differentials and public policy: A review," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 32(3), pages 339-362, April.
  9. Sandy, Robert & Elliott, Robert F, 1996. "Unions and Risk: Their Impact on the Level of Compensation for Fatal Risk," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(250), pages 291-309, May.
  10. Frank Bean & B. Lowell & Lowell Taylor, 1988. "Undocumented Mexican immigrants and the earnings of other workers in the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 35-52, February.
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Cited by:
  1. José-Ignacio Antón & Rafael Mu�oz de Bustillo, 2009. "Immigration And Discrimination In A Former Emigrant Country: The Case Of Spain," Working Papers 2009.2, International Network for Economic Research - INFER.
  2. Osea Giuntella, 2014. "Immigration and Job Disamenities," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 12(2), pages 20-26, 07.
  3. Giuntella, Osea & Mazzonna, Fabrizio, 2014. "Do Immigrants Bring Good Health?," IZA Discussion Papers 8073, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Orrenius, Pia M. & Zavodny, Madeline, 2012. "Immigrants in Risky Occupations," IZA Discussion Papers 6693, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Gleeson, Shannon, 2012. "Leveraging health capital at the workplace: An examination of health reporting behavior among Latino immigrant restaurant workers in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(12), pages 2291-2298.
  6. Zorlu, Aslan, 2011. "Occupational Adjustment of Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 6147, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. José-Ignacio Antón & Rafael Muñoz de Bustillo & Miguel Carrera, 2010. "From guests to hosts: immigrant-native wage differentials in Spain," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 31(6), pages 645-659, September.
  8. Antón, José-Ignacio & Carrera, Miguel & Muñoz de Bustillo, Rafael, 2009. "How are you doing in your grandpa’s country? Labour market performance of Latin American immigrants in Spain," MPRA Paper 15051, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Marvasti, Akbar, 2008. "Occupational Safety and English Language Proficiency," MPRA Paper 14490, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Mar 2009.

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