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Occupational Choice of High Skilled Immigrants in the United States

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Author Info

  • Chiswick, Barry R.

    ()
    (George Washington University)

  • Taengnoi, Sarinda

    ()
    (Western New England College)

Abstract

This paper explores the impact of English language proficiency and country of origin on the occupational choice of high-skilled immigrants in the U.S. using the 2000 Census. The findings reveal that high-skilled immigrants with limited proficiency in English, or whose mother tongue is linguistically distant from English, are more likely to be in occupations in which English communication skills are not very important, such as computer and engineering occupations. Moreover, the degree of exposure to English prior to immigration is found to have little influence on selecting occupations in the U.S. The paper also shows that immigrants from some origins with little exposure to English and whose native language is far from English tend to be in some “speaking-intensive” occupations, in particular social services occupations. These occupations may not require workers to be fluent in English if they mostly provide services to immigrants from their same linguistic background.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2969.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: International Migration, 45 (5), 2007, 3 - 34
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2969

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Related research

Keywords: occupation; English proficiency; immigrants; high-skilled workers;

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References

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  1. Guillermina Jasso & Mark R. Rosenzweig & James P. Smith, 2000. "The Changing Skill of New Immigrants to the United States: Recent Trends and Their Determinants," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Immigration, pages 185-226 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Christian Dustmann, 1996. "Temporary Migration, Human capital and Language Fluency of Migrants," Discussion Papers 96-21 ISSN 1350-6722, University College London, Department of Economics.
  3. Julian R. Betts & Magnus Lofstrom, 2000. "The Educational Attainment of Immigrants: Trends and Implications," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Immigration, pages 51-116 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Dustmann, Christian, 1994. "Speaking Fluency, Writing Fluency and Earnings of Migrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 133-56.
  5. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2007. "Matching Language Proficiency to Occupation: The Effect on Immigrants’ Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 2587, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2004. "Linguistic Distance: A Quantitative Measure of the Distance Between English and Other Languages," IZA Discussion Papers 1246, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Eli Berman & Kevin Lang & Erez Siniver, 1999. "Language Skill Complementarity: Returns to Immigrant Language Acquisition," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 96, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  8. Geoffrey Carliner, 1995. "The Language Ability of U.S. Immigrants: Assimilation and Cohort Effects," NBER Working Papers 5222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul W, 1995. "The Endogeneity between Language and Earnings: International Analyses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 246-88, April.
  10. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2008. "Highly-Educated Immigrants and Native Occupational Choice," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0813, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.

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