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Gender, Comparative Advantage and Labor Market Activity in Immigrant Families

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  • Deborah Cobb-Clark
  • Thomas F Crossley

Abstract

The family investment hypothesis that credit-constrained immigrant families adopt a household strategy for financing post-migration human capital investment in which the partner with albour market comparative advantage engages ininvestment activities and the other partner undertakes labor market activities which finance current consumption. We assess this hypothesis by focussing on two issues: first, the extent to which the specialization in the investing versus financing role is based on comparative advantage versus gender, and the second, the extent to which credit constraints offer a potential explanation for observed behaviour. Using a unique new Australian data set we find that comparative advantage and gender can be separately identified in migrating families. We find some support for the family investment hypothesis among traditional families (where labor market comparative advantage resides with the male partner) but not among nontraditional families.

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Paper provided by McMaster University in its series Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers with number 46.

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Length: 31 pages
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Handle: RePEc:mcm:cilnwp:46

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References

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  1. Robert J. LaLonde & Robert H. Topel, 1990. "The Assimilation of Immigrants in the U.S. Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 3573, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. George J. Borjas, 1988. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 2248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1997. "The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Labor-Market Activity: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 705-27, September.
  4. 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.
  5. Worswick, C. & Beach, C.M., 1990. "Is There a Double-Negative Effect on the Earnings of Immigrant Women?," Papers 1990-6, Queen's at Kingston - Sch. of Indus. Relat. Papers in Industrial Relations.
  6. Antecol, Heather, 2000. "An examination of cross-country differences in the gender gap in labor force participation rates," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 409-426, July.
  7. Harriet Duleep & Seth Sanders, 1993. "The decision to work by married immigrant women," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(4), pages 677-690, July.
  8. 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.
  9. Reimers, Cordelia W, 1985. "Cultural Differences in Labor Force Participation among Married Women," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 251-55, May.
  10. Christopher Worswick, 1999. "Credit Constraints and the Labour Supply of Immigrant Families in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 32(1), pages 152-170, February.
  11. Christopher Worswick, 1996. "Immigrant Families in the Canadian Labour Market," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 22(4), pages 378-396, December.
  12. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Connolly, Marie D. & Worswick, Christopher, 2001. "The Job Search and Education Investments of Immigrant Families," IZA Discussion Papers 290, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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Cited by:
  1. Talat Mahmood & Klaus Schömann, 2003. "On the Migration Decision of IT-Graduates: A Two-Level Nested Logit Model," CIG Working Papers SP II 2003-22, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  2. Talat Mahmood & Klaus Schömann, 2003. "On the Migration Decision of Indian IT-Graduates: An Empirical Analysis," CIG Working Papers SP II 2003-23, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  3. Christian Dustmann & Francesca Fabbri, 2005. "Gender and Ethnicity – Married Immigrants in Britain," CESifo Working Paper Series 1598, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Talat Mahmood & Klaus Schömann, 2002. "The Determinants of the Migration Decision of IT-graduates from Pakistan: Empirical Evidence for the Design of a German "Green Card"," CIG Working Papers FS IV 02-03a, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
  5. Mahmood, Talat & Schömann, Klaus, 2009. "The decision to migrate: A simultaneous decision making approach," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Competition and Innovation SP II 2009-17, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).

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