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Social Involvement and Level of Household Income among Immigrants: New Evidence from the Israeli Experience

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  • Arbel, Yuval

    ()
    (School of Business, Carmel Academic Center)

  • Tobol, Yossi

    ()
    (Jerusalem College of Technology (JTC))

  • Siniver, Erez

    ()
    (College of Management, Rishon Lezion Campus)

Abstract

Previous studies of immigrant populations suggest that ceteris paribus (after controlling for the number of years in the receiving country and other socio-demographic variables), the level of income is strongly and positively correlated with fluency in the local language. Based on a phone survey held in 2005 among a representative sample of Former Soviet Union (FSU) immigrants, the current study extends this literature and investigates the possibility that the standard model is misspecified. Unlike previous surveys, our dataset includes detailed subjective questions on the degree of social involvement. Our findings indeed support the conclusion that the standard model is misspecified. At 1% significance level, immigrants who are better assimilated within the receiving country are 11% more likely to attain a level of income that is equal to or higher than the average level of net family monthly income. Moreover, compared to the incorrectly-specified model, at 1% significance level a shift from lower to intermediate and high level of language proficiency does not significantly increase the level of income. Consequently, marginal probabilities of income shift, which have been mistakenly attributed to better language proficiency in the misspecified model, should have been, in fact, attributed to a higher level of social involvement. Finally, stratification of the sample based on gender and marital status shows that compared to unmarried females, married males have a higher return on social involvement. Among married men (unmarried women) a higher level of social involvement significantly increases the chances for higher income level by 15% (only 4%). Research findings thus stress the important role of better social involvement, particularly among married males: a higher degree of social involvement leads to improved social networking and, in turn, to better job opportunities and higher income.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6416.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming in: International Journal of Manpower
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6416

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Keywords: gender differences; immigration; income level; social involvement;

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References

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  1. Eckstein, Zvi & Weiss, Yoram, 2003. "On the Wage Growth of Immigrants: Israel, 1990-2000," CEPR Discussion Papers 3770, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Cohen Goldner, Sarit & Eckstein, Zvi, 2004. "Estimating the Return to Training and Occupational Experience: The Case of Female Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 1225, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Friedberg, Rachel M, 2000. "You Can't Take It with You? Immigrant Assimilation and the Portability of Human Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 221-51, April.
  4. Geoffrey Carliner, 1995. "The Language Ability of U.S. Immigrants: Assimilation and Cohort Effects," NBER Working Papers 5222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. David Card, 1989. "The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market," Working Papers 633, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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  7. Duleep, Harriet & Regets, Mark, 2002. "The Elusive Concept of Immigrant Quality: Evidence from 1970-1990," IZA Discussion Papers 631, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Weiss, Y. & Sauer, R.M. & Gotlibovski, M., 1999. "Immigration, Search and Lost of Skill," Papers 26-99, Tel Aviv.
  9. Gilles Grenier, 1984. "The Effects of Language Characteristics on the Wages of Hispanic-American Males," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(1), pages 35-52.
  10. M. van Leuvensteijn & Pierre Koning, 2004. "The Effect of Home-ownership on Labor Mobility in The Netherlands," Working Papers 04-01, Utrecht School of Economics.
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  12. Geoffrey Carliner, 1981. "Wage Differences by Language Group and the Market for Language Skills in Canada," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 16(3), pages 384-399.
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  14. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
  15. Chiuri, Maria Concetta & Jappelli, Tullio, 2003. "Financial market imperfections and home ownership: A comparative study," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(5), pages 857-875, October.
  16. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2008. "Occupational Attainment and Immigrant Economic Progress in Australia," IZA Discussion Papers 3316, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. Chiswick, Barry R, 1991. "Speaking, Reading, and Earnings among Low-Skilled Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 149-70, April.
  18. Cohen-Goldner, Sarit & Eckstein, Zvi, 2002. "Labour Mobility of Immigrants: Training, Experience, Language and Opportunities," CEPR Discussion Papers 3412, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. McManus, Walter S, 1985. "Labor Market Costs of Language Disparity: An Interpretation of Hispanic Earnings Differences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 818-27, September.
  20. Rachel M. Friedberg, 2001. "The Impact Of Mass Migration On The Israeli Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1373-1408, November.
  21. 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.
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