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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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  • Cortes, Kalena E.

    ()
    (Texas A&M 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 1980/1990 Integrated Public Use Samples of the Census to study labor market outcomes of immigrants who arrived in the U.S. from 1975 to 1980. I find that in 1980 refugee immigrants in this cohort earned 6 percent less and worked 14 percent fewer hours than economic immigrants. Both had about 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 percent more, worked 4 percent more hours, and improved their English skills by 11 percent relative to economic immigrants. The higher rates of human capital accumulation for refugee immigrants contribute to these findings.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1063.

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    Length: 45 pages
    Date of creation: Mar 2004
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: published in: Review of Economics and Statistics, 2004, 86 (2), 465-480
    Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1063

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    Keywords: human capital investment; refugee and economic immigrants; wage growth;

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    Cited by:
    1. 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.
    2. 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).
    3. Michael Clemens & Claudio Montenegro & Lant Pritchett, 2008. "The Place Premium: Wage Differences for Identical Workers across the U.S. Border," Working Papers 148, Center for Global Development.
    4. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2005. "Why Is the Payoff to Schooling Smaller for Immigrants?," IZA Discussion Papers 1731, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. 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).
    6. Sébastien Jean & Orsetta Causa & Miguel Jimenez & Isabelle Wanner, 2010. "Migration and labour market outcomes in OECD countries," OECD Journal: Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2010(1), pages 1-34.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Christian Dustmann & Albrecht Glitz, 2011. "Migration and Education," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2011011, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.

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