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Highly Educated Immigrants and Native Occupational Choice

Listed author(s):
  • GIOVANNI PERI
  • CHAD SPARBER

Economic debate about the consequences of immigration in the US has largely focused on how influxes of foreign-born labor with little educational attainment have affected similarly-educated native-born workers. Fewer studies analyze the effect of immigration within the market for highly-educated labor. We use O*NET data on job characteristics to assess whether native-born workers with graduate degrees respond to an increased presence of highly-educated foreign-born workers by choosing new occupations with different skill content. We find that highly-educated native and foreign-born workers are imperfect substitutes. Immigrants with graduate degrees specialize in occupations demanding quantitative and analytical skills, whereas their native-born counterparts specialize in occupations requiring interactive and communication skills. When the foreign-born proportion of highly-educated employment within an occupation rises, native employees with graduate degrees choose new occupations with less analytical and more communicative content.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1468-232X.2011.00643.x
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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society.

Volume (Year): 50 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (07)
Pages: 385-411

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Handle: RePEc:bla:indres:v:50:y:2011:i:3:p:385-411
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