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The skill transferability of high-skilled US immigrants

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  • M. Ryan Haley
  • Sarinda Taengnoi

Abstract

Using the 2000 US Census data, we explored the effect of international transferability of skills on the earnings of high-skilled US immigrants. We confirmed that education and labour market experience received by immigrants from Japan and English-speaking developed countries before migrating have the greatest transferability; immigrants from non-English-speaking and Less Developed Countries (LDCs) make a greater investment in US-specific skills after arrival and earn a salary commensurate with the acquired skill level. Nevertheless, high-skilled workers from English-speaking developed countries still receive higher earnings, other things equal. We explore factors that influence this earnings differential.

Suggested Citation

  • M. Ryan Haley & Sarinda Taengnoi, 2011. "The skill transferability of high-skilled US immigrants," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(7), pages 633-636.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:apeclt:v:18:y:2011:i:7:p:633-636 DOI: 10.1080/13504851.2010.491438
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Henry S. Farber & Robert Gibbons, 1996. "Learning and Wage Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1007-1047.
    2. Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, 2001. "Employer Learning and Statistical Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 313-350.
    3. Fabian Lange, 2007. "The Speed of Employer Learning," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 1-35.
    4. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "The Theory of "Screening," Education, and the Distribution of Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 283-300.
    5. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
    6. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hirsch, Boris & Jahn, Elke J. & Toomet, Ott & Hochfellner, Daniela, 2014. "Do better pre-migration skills accelerate immigrants' wage assimilation?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 212-222.

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