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Why is the payoff to schooling smaller for immigrants?

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  • Chiswick, Barry R.
  • Miller, Paul W.

Abstract

To answer the question, this paper uses the Over-Required-Under Education technique, a new decomposition methodology and data on adult men from the 2000 US Census. Using the 510 three-digit occupational categories, similar patterns emerge whether the mean or mode of education in the occupation is used as the typical (required) level. The partial effect of the occupation's typical schooling level is the same for immigrants and natives. About two thirds of the smaller effect of schooling on earnings is attributable to differences by nativity in the payoffs to over/under education. The remainder is largely due to the different distributions by nativity of over/under education. Favorable immigrant selectivity, especially among the least skilled, and to a lesser extent, limited transferability of foreign schooling, is largely responsible for these patterns. A variety of tests of robustness are performed, including separate analyses for child and adult immigrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2008. "Why is the payoff to schooling smaller for immigrants?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 1317-1340, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:15:y:2008:i:6:p:1317-1340
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2007. "The International Transferability of Immigrants’ Human Capital Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 2670, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Keywords

    I21 J24 J31 J61 F22 Immigrants Schooling Occupations Earnings Rates of return Selectivity;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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