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On discrimination and the status of immigrants in the Hong Kong labour market


  • Alan T.K. Wan

    () (City University of Hong Kong)


This paper studies the extent of discrimination against mainland Chinese immigrants in the Hong Kong labour market and provides a quantitative assessment of the source of wage differentials between local born Hong Kong residents and Chinese immigrants. Using the 2001 Hong Kong Population Census data, we find strong evidence of a wage gap between locals and post-1980 Chinese immigrants. There is also clear evidence that discrimination accounts for a substantial proportion of the wage gap between the two groups. Furthermore, our findings suggest that while the overall wage gap may shrink with the immigrants' duration of residence in Hong Kong, the percentage of the wage gap due to discrimination does not change very much after the immediate post-immigration period.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan T.K. Wan, 2006. "On discrimination and the status of immigrants in the Hong Kong labour market," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 10(7), pages 1-17.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-06j60002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J & Masterov, Dimitriy V, 2005. "Labor Market Discrimination and Racial Differences in Premarket Factors," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(1), pages 1-39, April.
    2. Blackaby, D.H. & Leslie, D.G. & Murphy, P.D. & O'Leary, N.C., 2005. "Born in Britain: How are native ethnic minorities faring in the British labour market?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 370-375, September.
    3. 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.
    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 463-489, October.
    5. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    6. Kit-Chun Lam & Pak-Wai Liu, 2002. "Earnings Divergence of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 86-104, January.
    7. Hoffman, Emily P, 1976. "Faculty Salaries: Is There Discrimination by Sex, Race, and Discipline? Additional Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(1), pages 196-198, March.
    8. G√ľnter Lang, 2005. "The difference between wages and wage potentials: Earnings disadvantages of immigrants in Germany," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 3(1), pages 21-42, April.
    9. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
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    JEL classification:

    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • C5 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling


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