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Testing the acculturation of the 1.5 generation in the United States: Is there a “critical” age of migration?

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  • Marina Gindelsky

    () (Bureau of Economic Analysis)

Abstract

Existing research shows that on average first-generation immigrants earn less than native-born workers in the United States, especially during their first decade in the country, but eventually overtake the native-born; second-generation immigrants (2g) tend to earn more than subsequent generations (3+g). However, the labor market outcomes of the “1.5 generation” (1.5g), the foreign born who migrate as children, have not been thoroughly analyzed. This paper hypothesizes that the 1.5g could have an earnings advantage relative to subsequent generations due to the higher ability of their parents; however, the accumulation of destination-specific human capital (i.e., acculturation) also declines with age at migration (AAM). Using a Mincerian earnings regression as applied to CPS data (1994–2016), this analysis tests whether there is a within-group “critical” AAM threshold after which the earnings advantage of the 1.5g becomes an earnings disadvantage. Results show that this threshold is approximately ages 5–9, varying by ethnicity and gender.

Suggested Citation

  • Marina Gindelsky, 2019. "Testing the acculturation of the 1.5 generation in the United States: Is there a “critical” age of migration?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 31-65, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:17:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s11150-017-9400-2
    DOI: 10.1007/s11150-017-9400-2
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    1.5 Generation; Immigrant children; Immigrants; Second generation; Age at migration; Acculturation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • 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
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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