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International labor migration, asymmetric information and occupational choice

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  • Kar, Saibal

Abstract

We study the effect of asymmetric information in the labor market of a country on the occupational choice pattern of immigrants vis-à-vis natives. The choice is limited to self-employment and paid employment. The study is motivated by empirical observations that regular and irregular immigrants in many countries are often over-represented in entrepreneurship/small business despite substantial initial disadvantages. There are also evidences that the immigrants catch up with the native income level within one and half decades of their presence in the foreign land. We try to identify the reasons and provide a formal explanation of how the initial disadvantage turns out to be a prospect in disguise. In particular, we show that a larger number of skilled workers from a mixed cohort of immigrants tend to take up riskier self-employment compared to skilled natives. This explains a higher average income with high temporal income variability for the immigrant group, with consequent implications for income convergence.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 24106.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Publication status: Published in Trade and Development Review 1.2(2009): pp. 34-48
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:24106

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Related research

Keywords: Asymmetric Information; Labor migration; Self-employment; Risk premium; Income variability;

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References

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  1. Andrew M. Yuengert, 1995. "Testing Hypotheses of Immigrant Self-Employment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 194-204.
  2. Andrew M. Yuengert, 1991. "Self-employment and the earnings of male immigrants in the U.S," Research Paper 9105, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  3. Clark, Kenneth & Drinkwater, Stephen, 2000. "Pushed out or pulled in? Self-employment among ethnic minorities in England and Wales," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 603-628, September.
  4. Chau, Nancy H & Stark, Oded, 1999. "Migration under Asymmetric Information and Human Capital Formation," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 455-83, August.
  5. Borjas, George J & Bronars, Stephen G, 1989. "Consumer Discrimination and Self-employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 581-605, June.
  6. Kidd, M.P., 1990. "Immigrant Wage Differentials And The Role Of Self- Employment In Australia," Papers 1990-07, Tasmania - Department of Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
  9. Robin Boadway & Nicolas Marceau & Maurice Marchand & Marianne Vigneault, 1998. "Entrepreneurship, Asymmetric Information and Unemployment," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 57, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  10. Moore, Robert L, 1983. "Employer Discrimination: Evidence from Self-Employed Workers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 496-501, August.
  11. Eran Razin, 1992. "Paths To Ownership Of Small Businesses Among Immigrants In Israeli Cities And Towns," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 22(3), pages 277-296, Winter.
  12. Christian Dustmann & Francesca Fabbri, 2003. "Language proficiency and labour market performance of immigrants in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(489), pages 695-717, 07.
  13. Katz, Eliakim & Stark, Oded, 1987. "International Migration under Asymmetric Information," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 718-26, September.
  14. Carliner, Geoffrey, 1980. "Wages, Earnings and Hours of First, Second, and Third Generation American Males," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(1), pages 87-102, January.
  15. Duleep, Harriet Orcutt & Regets, Mark C., 1997. "The decline in immigrant entry earnings: Less transferable skills or lower ability?," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(Supplemen), pages 189-208.
  16. Robert W. Fairlie & Bruce D. Meyer, 1996. "Ethnic and Racial Self-Employment Differences and Possible Explanations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(4), pages 757-793.
  17. Kar, Saibal & Saha, Bibhas, 2011. "Asymmetric Information in the Labor Market, Immigrants and Contract Menu," IZA Discussion Papers 5508, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Saibal Kar & Basudeb Guha-Khasnobis, 2006. "Foreign Capital, Skill Formation, and Migration of Skilled Workers," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2), pages 107-123.
  19. Magnus Lofstrom, 2002. "Labor market assimilation and the self-employment decision of immigrant entrepreneurs," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 83-114.
  20. Edward Funkhouser & Stephen J. Trejo, 1995. "The labor market skills of recent male immigrants: Evidence from the Current Population Survey," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(4), pages 792-811, July.
  21. Mark C. Regets & Harriet Orcutt Duleep, 1999. "Immigrants and Human-Capital Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 186-191, May.
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