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Substitution Between Individual and Cultural Capital: Pre-Migration Labor Supply, Culture and US Labor Market Outcomes Among Immigrant Women

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  • Francine D. Blau
  • Lawrence M. Kahn

Abstract

In this paper we use New Immigrant Survey data to investigate the impact of immigrant women’s own labor supply prior to migrating and female labor supply in their source country to provide evidence on the role of human capital and culture in affecting their labor supply and wages in the United States. We find, as expected, that women who migrate from countries with relatively high levels of female labor supply work more in the United States. Moreover, most of this effect remains when we further control for each woman’s own labor supply prior to migrating, which itself also strongly affects labor supply in the United States. Importantly, we find a significantly negative interaction between pre-migration labor supply and source country female labor supply. We obtain broadly similar effects analyzing the determinants of hourly earnings among the employed in the United States, although the results are not always significant. These results suggest an important role for culture and norms in affecting immigrant women’s labor supply, since the effect of source country female labor supply on immigrant women’s US work hours is still strong even controlling for the immigrant’s own pre-migration labor supply. The negative interaction effects between previous work experience and source country female labor supply on women’s US work hours and wages suggest that cultural capital and individual job-related human capital act as substitutes in affecting preparedness for work in the US.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17275.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17275

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References

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  1. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn & Kerry L. Papps, 2008. "Gender, Source Country Characteristics and Labor Market Assimilation Among Immigrants: 1980-2000," NBER Working Papers 14387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2007. "Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980–2000," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 393-438.
  3. Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2005. "Unequal Pay or Unequal employment? A Cross-Country Analysis of Gender Gaps," CEP Discussion Papers dp0711, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Fernández, Raquel & Fogli, Alessandra, 2005. "Fertility: The Role of Culture and Family Experience," CEPR Discussion Papers 5221, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  6. Darren Lubotsky, 2007. "Chutes or Ladders? A Longitudinal Analysis of Immigrant Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(5), pages 820-867, October.
  7. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2003. "Understanding International Differences in the Gender Pay Gap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 106-144, January.
  8. 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.
  9. Derek Neal, 2002. "The Measured Black-White Wage Gap Among Women is Too Small," NBER Working Papers 9133, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Hoyt Bleakley & Aimee Chin, 2004. "Language Skills and Earnings: Evidence from Childhood Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 481-496, May.
  15. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn & Joan Y. Moriarty & Andre Portela Souza, 2003. "The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Labor-Market Activity: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 429-447, March.
  16. Juhn, Chinhui, 1992. "Decline of Male Labor Market Participation: The Role of Declining Market Opportunities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 79-121, February.
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  19. Jaeger, David A, 1997. "Reconciling the Old and New Census Bureau Education Questions: Recommendations for Researchers," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(3), pages 300-309, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Yeter, Mustafa & Stichnoth, Holger, 2013. "Cultural influences on the fertility behaviour of first- and second-generation immigrants in Germany," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79882, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  2. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence Kahn, 2013. "Immigration and the Distribution of Incomes," CESifo Working Paper Series 4561, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Raymundo M. Campos-Vazquez & Roberto Velez-Grajales, 2013. "Female labour supply and intergenerational preference formation: Evidence for Mexico," Serie documentos de trabajo del Centro de Estudios Económicos 2013-06, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos.
  4. Bredtmann, Julia & Otten, Sebastian, 2013. "The Role of Source- and Host-Country Characteristics in Female Immigrant Labor Supply," MPRA Paper 44544, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Blau, Francine D. & Kahn, Lawrence M. & Liu, Albert Yung-Hsu & Papps, Kerry L., 2008. "The Transmission of Women's Fertility, Human Capital and Work Orientation across Immigrant Generations," IZA Discussion Papers 3732, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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