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Reinterpreting the performance of immigrant wages from panel data

Listed author(s):
  • Derek Hum
  • Wayne Simpson


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    Immigrants differ from the native born in terms of unobserved factors, such as motivation, and observed factors, including those related to the interruption of labour market activity and earning capacity, which may bias estimates of immigrant integration. Using panel data from the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics, we show that using potential experience, rather than actual experience, exaggerates estimates of the disruption and recovery caused by immigration. More importantly, we find support for omitted variables bias, arising from unobserved fixed effects. Instrumental variable estimates for both pooled and separate samples of immigrant and native born men demonstrate a wage disadvantage for immigrants upon entry that persists through their lifetime. Standard estimates of a modest wage advantage for the children of immigrants also suffer from omitted variables bias arising from unobservables. Contrary to most of the literature to date, our instrumental variable estimates which allow for unobservable fixed effects suggest that immigrants never catch up to otherwise comparable native born workers, but their children do just as well. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2004

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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Empirical Economics.

    Volume (Year): 29 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 129-147

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:empeco:v:29:y:2004:i:1:p:129-147
    DOI: 10.1007/s00181-003-0193-1
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