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Economic assimilation of Mexican and Chinese immigrants in the United States: is there wage convergence?


  • Yujie Wu

    () (Illinois Wesleyan University)

  • Michael C Seeborg

    () (Illinois Wesleyan University)


This research determines the economic assimilation experience of Mexican immigrants and Chinese immigrants towards natives level over time after controlling for human capital and demographic characteristics. Using Census data from multiple years, this research follows cohorts of Mexican and Chinese immigrants who migrated to the U.S. prior to 1994 to investigate the impact of assimilation on the level of earnings for these immigrants. Multiple regression and simulation techniques are used to compare the earnings growth pattern for the two immigrant groups. Results show that over time there is wage convergence for Chinese immigrants toward the native level and they do show rapid economic assimilation in the United States. However, there is wage divergence and no economic assimilation of Mexican immigrants towards natives over time. The underlying explanation can be the changing demand of the U.S. labor market as it becomes more and more knowledge-based and information-driven.

Suggested Citation

  • Yujie Wu & Michael C Seeborg, 2012. "Economic assimilation of Mexican and Chinese immigrants in the United States: is there wage convergence?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(3), pages 1978-1991.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-12-00420

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. George J. Borjas, 1992. "National Origin and the Skills of Immigrants in the Postwar Period," NBER Chapters,in: Immigration and the Workforce: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas, pages 17-48 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Borjas, George J., 1996. "The earnings of Mexican immigrants in the United States," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 69-98, October.
    3. Michael Beenstock & Barry Chiswick & Ari Paltiel, 2010. "Testing the immigrant assimilation hypothesis with longitudinal data," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 7-27, March.
    4. Schaeffer, Peter V., 2006. "Outline of an Economic Theory of Assimilation," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 36(2).
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    More about this item


    Immigration; assimilation; Mexican; Chinese; wages;

    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets


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