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Public policy and the labor market adjustment of new immigrants to Australia

  • Deborah A. Cobb-Clark


Two separate cohorts of immigrants to Australia are compared in order to assess the potential role of immigrant selection criteria, labor market conditions, and income-support policy in facilitating the labor market adjustment of new arrivals. Although these two cohorts entered Australia only five years apart, their initial labor market outcomes varied dramatically. The results indicate that changes in immigration policy may have led to increased human capital endowments that in turn resulted in higher participation rates and reduced unemployment. At the same time, improvement in Australian labor market conditions and changes in income-support policy over the 1990s – which most likely altered the returns to human capital – were probably instrumental in reinforcing the effects of tighter immigrant selection criteria. As much as half of the fall in unemployment rates among women and one third the decline among men appears to have occurred as the result of changes in the returns to demographic and human capital characteristics. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2003

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Population Economics.

Volume (Year): 16 (2003)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 655-681

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:16:y:2003:i:4:p:655-681
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  1. Harry R Clarke, 1995. "Forward Planning and Stability of the Australian Migration Program," Working Papers 1995.01, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
  2. Richard P. C. Brown, 1998. "Comparative labor market performance of visaed and non-visaed migrants: Pacific islanders in Sydney," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 395-411.
  3. Guillermina Jasso & Mark Rosensweig & James P. Smith, 2003. "The Earnings of US immigrants," Labor and Demography 0312007, EconWPA.
  4. repec:ilo:ilowps:338944 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-53, September.
  6. Denise J. Doiron & W. Craig Riddell, 1994. "The Impact of Unionization on Male-Female Earnings Differences in Canada," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 504-534.
  7. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A, 1993. "Immigrant Selectivity and Wages: The Evidence for Women," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 986-93, September.
  8. McDonald, James Ted & Worswick, Christopher, 1999. "The Earnings of Immigrant Men in Australia: Assimilation, Cohort Effects, and Macroeconomic Conditions," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 75(228), pages 49-62, March.
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