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Immigrant Families in the Canadian Labour Market


  • Christopher Worswick


The labour market activity of immigrant and non-immigrant married couples is compared using data from the 1981 and 1991 Canadian Censuses. New evidence is provided on the performance of immigrant men and women in terms of three components of annual earnings: hourly wage rates, hours worked per week, and weeks worked per year. Evidence of intra-family trade-offs of investments in the immigrant husband's career at the expense of investments in the wife's career are not found overall. However, the wife's labour market performance is found to play a major role in the earnings creation of immigrant families. The findings support a family orientation to both the evaluation and the implementation of immigration policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Worswick, 1996. "Immigrant Families in the Canadian Labour Market," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 22(4), pages 378-396, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:22:y:1996:i:4:p:378-396

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Borjas, George J & Bronars, Stephen G, 1991. "Immigration and the Family," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(2), pages 123-148, April.
    2. David E. Bloom & Morley Gunderson, 1991. "An Analysis of the Earnings of Canadian Immigrants," NBER Chapters,in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 321-342 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    4. 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.
    5. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1994. "The Performance of Immigrants in the Canadian Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(3), pages 369-405, July.
    6. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    7. 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 463-489, October.
    8. Charles M. Beach & Christopher Worswick, 1993. "Is There a Double-Negative Effect on the Earnings of Immigrant Women?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 19(1), pages 36-53, March.
    9. Long, James E, 1980. "The Effect of Americanization on Earnings: Some Evidence for Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 620-629, June.
    10. LaLonde, Robert J & Topel, Robert H, 1991. "Immigrants in the American Labor Market: Quality, Assimilation, and Distributional Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 297-302, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Deborah Cobb-Clark & Thomas F Crossley, "undated". "Gender, Comparative Advantage and Labor Market Activity in Immigrant Families," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 46, McMaster University.
    2. Rashid, Saman, 2004. "Immigrants' Income and Family Migration," Umeå Economic Studies 625, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    3. Sarit Cohen-Goldner & Chemi Gotlibovski & Nava Kahana, 2009. "A Reevaluation Of the Role Of Family In Immigrants' Labor Market Activity;Evidence From a Comparison Of Single and Married Immigrants," Working Papers 2009-13, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
    4. Ana Ferrer, 2015. "Are married immigrant women secondary workers?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 119-119, January.
    5. Urvashi Dhawan Biswal, 1999. "Testing the Family "Common Preference" Model for Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Women's Labour Supply," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 25(s1), pages 95-114, November.
    6. Duleep, Harriet & Dowhan, Daniel J., 2002. "Revisiting the Family Investment Model with Longitudinal Data: The Earnings Growth of Immigrant and U.S.-Born Women," IZA Discussion Papers 568, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Green, Colin & Kler, Parvinder & Leeves, Gareth, 2007. "Immigrant overeducation: Evidence from recent arrivals to Australia," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 420-432, August.
    8. Rashid, Saman, 2004. "Married immigrant women and employment.The role of family investments," Umeå Economic Studies 623, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    9. Basilio, Leilanie & Bauer, Thomas K. & Sinning, Mathias, 2009. "Analyzing the labor market activity of immigrant families in Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 510-520, October.
    10. Sarit Cohen-Goldner & Chemi Gotlibovski & Nava Kahana, 2009. "The role of marriage in immigrants’ human capital investment under liquidity constraints," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(4), pages 983-1003, October.
    11. McDonald, James Ted & Worswick, Christopher, 2013. "Retirement Incomes, Labour Supply and Co-residency Decisions of Older Immigrants in Canada: 1991-2006," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2013-23, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 29 Apr 2013.
    12. Cobb-Clark, Deborah & Crossley, Thomas F., 2004. "Revisiting the family investment hypothesis," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 373-393, June.
    13. Dowling, J. Malcolm & Worswick, Christopher, 1999. "Labor market participation of urban women in Southeast Asia by migration status: Evidence from microdata," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 91-109.
    14. Deborah Cobb-Clark & Marie D. Connolly & Christopher Worswick, 2000. "Does the Family Investment Hypothesis Explain Immigrant Labor Market Activity?," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0828, Econometric Society.
    15. Statistics Canada, 2003. "The Rise in Low-income Rates Among Immigrants in Canada," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2003198e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    16. Adserà, Alícia & Ferrer, Ana, 2016. "Occupational skills and labour market progression of married immigrant women in Canada," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 88-98.
    17. Leilanie Basilio & Thomas K. Bauer & Mathias Sinning, 2007. "Analyzing the Labor Market Activity of Immigrant Families in Germany," Ruhr Economic Papers 0024, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    18. repec:zbw:rwirep:0024 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply


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