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Negative and Positive Assimilation, Skill Transferability, and Linguistic Distance

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  • Barry R. Chiswick
  • Paul W. Miller

Abstract

This paper synthesizes two models of immigrant assimilation: "positive assimilation" if earnings rise with duration as destination-relevant skills are acquired and "negative assimilation" if immigrants with highly transferable skills experience declining earnings as their economic rent diminishes. Hypotheses are developed and tested with earnings of adult male immigrants in the 2000 U.S. Census. "Linguistic distance" from English of an immigrant's mother tongue is the index of skill transferability. Only immigrants from English-speaking developed countries experience negative assimilation. Immigrants from other countries experience positive assimilation, the degree of assimilation increasing with linguistic distance.

Suggested Citation

  • Barry R. Chiswick & Paul W. Miller, 2012. "Negative and Positive Assimilation, Skill Transferability, and Linguistic Distance," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 35-55.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jhucap:doi:10.1086/664794
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2008. "The "Negative" Assimilation of Immigrants: A Special Case," IZA Discussion Papers 3563, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Paul W. Miller & Barry R. Chiswick, 2002. "Immigrant earnings: Language skills, linguistic concentrations and the business cycle," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 15(1), pages 31-57.
    3. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn & Kerry L. Papps, 2008. "Gender, Source Country Characteristics and Labor Market Assimilation Among Immigrants: 1980-2000," NBER Working Papers 14387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2004. "Linguistic Distance: A Quantitative Measure of the Distance Between English and Other Languages," IZA Discussion Papers 1246, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Strom, Steinar & Venturini, Alessandra & Villosio, Claudia, 2013. "Wage Assimilation: Migrants versus Natives and Foreign Migrants versus Internal Migrants," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201341, University of Turin.
    2. repec:kap:jecgro:v:23:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10887-017-9153-z is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Peter Huber, 2015. "What Institutions help immigrants Integrate?," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 77, WWWforEurope.
    4. Marco DELOGU & Frédéric DOCQUIER & Joël MACHADO, 2013. "The dynamic implications of liberalizing global migration," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2013029, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    5. Ingo E. Isphording, 2013. "Returns to Foreign Language Skills of Immigrants in Spain," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 27(4), pages 443-461, December.
    6. repec:zbw:rwirep:0398 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Isphording, Ingo, 2013. "Returns to Local and Foreign Language Skills – Causal Evidence from Spain," Ruhr Economic Papers 398, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    8. Massimiliano Tani & Christopher Heaton & Gavin Chan, 2013. "The Wage Premium of Foreign Education: New Evidence from Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 46(4), pages 395-404, December.
    9. Sweetman, A. & van Ours, J.C., 2014. "Immigration : What About the Children and Grandchildren?," Discussion Paper 2014-009, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    10. Bloemen, Hans, 2013. "Language Proficiency of Migrants: The Relation with Job Satisfaction and Matching," IZA Discussion Papers 7366, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Johanna Catherine Maclean & Douglas Webber & Jody L. Sindelar, 2015. "Immigration and access to fringe benefits: Evidence from the Tobacco Use Supplements," DETU Working Papers 1503, Department of Economics, Temple University.
    12. Ayumi Takenaka & Makiko Nakamuro & Kenji Ishida, 2016. "Negative Assimilation: How Immigrants Experience Economic Mobility in Japan," International Migration Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 506-533, June.
    13. Tani, Massimiliano, 2012. "Does immigration policy affect the education--occupation mismatch? Evidence from Australia," Australian Bulletin of Labour, National Institute of Labour Studies, vol. 38(2), pages 111-141.
    14. Barry R. Chiswick & Paul W. Miller, 2015. "Negative and Positive Assimilation by Prices and by Quantities," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 18(1), pages 5-28.
    15. Marco Delogu & Frédéric Docquier & Joël Machado, 2018. "Globalizing labor and the world economy: the role of human capital," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 223-258, June.
    16. Martin Kahanec, 2013. "Labor mobility in an enlarged European Union," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Migration, chapter 7, pages 137-152 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    17. Julia Bock-Schappelwein & Peter Huber, 2016. "Integrating Asylum Seekers in the Austrian Labour Market," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 89(3), pages 157-169, March.
    18. Vaira-Lucero, Matias & Nahm, Daehoon & Tani, Massimiliano, 2012. "Socioeconomic Assimilation and Wealth Accumulation of Migrants in Australia," IZA Discussion Papers 6969, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. repec:wfo:wstudy:57884 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Edward P. Lazear, 2017. "Why Are Some Immigrant Groups More Successful than Others?," NBER Working Papers 23548, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Boutin, Delphine, 2016. "Migration Experience and Access to a First Job in Uganda," IZA Discussion Papers 10119, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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