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On The Wage Growth of Immigrants: Israel, 1990-2000

Author

Listed:
  • Zvi Eckstein

    (Tel Aviv University and University of Minnesota)

  • Yoram Weiss

    (Tel Aviv University)

Abstract

This paper develops a descriptive methodology for the analysis of wage growth of immigrants that is based on human capital theory. The sources of the wage growth are (1) the rise of the return to imported human capital, (2) the impact of accumulated experience in the host country, and (3) the mobility up the occupational ladder in the host country. The model implies a nonlinear wage function that includes interactions between imported skills and local wage growth. Using data on native Israelis and immigrants from the former Soviet Union of Israel, we estimate wage equations jointly for the two groups. We find that, upon arrival, immigrants receive no return for imported skills. In the ten years following arrival, wages of highly skilled immigrants grow at 8 percent a year. Rising prices of skills, occupational transitions, accumulated experience in Israel, and an economy-wide rise in wages account for 3.4, 1.1, 1.5, and 1.5 percent each. In the long run, the return for schooling converges to 0.027, substantially below the 0.069 return for natives. We do not reject the hypothesis that the return for experience converges to that of natives and that immigrants receive a higher return for their unmeasured skills. We find that there is some downgrading in the occupational distribution of immigrants relative to that of natives. Moreover, the average wages of immigrants approach but do not converge to the wages of comparable natives. The main reason for this is the low return to their imported skills. (JEL: J24, J31, J60) Copyright (c) 2004 The European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Zvi Eckstein & Yoram Weiss, 2004. "On The Wage Growth of Immigrants: Israel, 1990-2000," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 665-695, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:2:y:2004:i:4:p:665-695
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Yoram Weiss & Robert M. Sauer & Menachem Gotlibovski, 2003. "Immigration, Search, and Loss of Skill," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(3), pages 557-592, July.
    2. George J. Borjas, 2000. "The Economic Progress of Immigrants," NBER Chapters,in: Issues in the Economics of Immigration, pages 15-50 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
    4. Borjas, George J, 1985. "Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 463-489, October.
    5. Sarit Cohen-Goldner & Zvi Eckstein, 2008. "Labor Mobility Of Immigrants: Training, Experience, Language, And Opportunities," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(3), pages 837-872, August.
    6. Blinder, Alan S & Weiss, Yoram, 1976. "Human Capital and Labor Supply: A Synthesis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(3), pages 449-472, June.
    7. Henry S. Farber & Robert Gibbons, 1996. "Learning and Wage Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1007-1047.
    8. Caballe, Jordi & Santos, Manuel S, 1993. "On Endogenous Growth with Physical and Human Capital," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 1042-1067, December.
    9. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
    10. James Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explanations With A Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings With Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 1-58, January.
    11. Brezis, Elise S & Krugman, Paul R & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1993. "Leapfrogging in International Competition: A Theory of Cycles in National Technological Leadership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1211-1219, December.
    12. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-442, June.
    13. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
    14. Weiss, Yoram & Sauer, Robert M. & Gotlibovski, Menachem, 1999. "Immigration, Search and Loss of Skill," Foerder Institute for Economic Research Working Papers 275638, Tel-Aviv University > Foerder Institute for Economic Research.
    15. LaLonde, Robert J & Topel, Robert H, 1991. "Immigrants in the American Labor Market: Quality, Assimilation, and Distributional Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 297-302, May.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

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