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Immigrants and the Labor Market

  • James P. Smith

    (RAND Corporation)

This article examines skill gaps between immigrants and native-born Americans and generational progress achieved by different immigrant ethnic groups. Evidence of a widening skill gap is not strong. While wage data show a pronounced fall in relative wages of "recent" immigrants, significant independent contributors to that decline are a widening age gap and the increasing price of skill. When attention shifts to legal migrants, the evidence is that legal migrants are, at a minimum, keeping up with native-born Americans. I find that the concern that educational generational progress among Latino immigrants has lagged behind other immigrant ethnic groups is unfounded.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 24 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 203-234

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:24:y:2006:i:2:p:203-234
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  1. George J. Borjas, 1994. "Long-Run Convergence of Ethnic Skill Differentials," NBER Working Papers 4641, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Guillermina Jasso & Mark R. Rosenzweig & James P. Smith, 2000. "The Changing Skill of New Immigrants to the United States: Recent Trends and Their Determinants," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Immigration, pages 185-226 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kristin F. Butcher & John DiNardo, 2002. "The Immigrant and native-born wage distributions: Evidence from United States censuses," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(1), pages 97-121, October.
  4. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1991. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," NBER Working Papers 3927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Duncan, Brian & Trejo, Stephen, 2005. "Ethnic Identification, Intermarriage, and Unmeasured Progress by Mexican Americans," IZA Discussion Papers 1629, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. George J. Borjas, 1994. "Long-run convergence of ethnic skill differentials: The children and grandchildren of the Great Migration," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(4), pages 553-573, July.
  7. Robert J. LaLonde & Robert H. Topel, 1992. "The Assimilation of Immigrants in the U. S. Labor Market," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration and the Workforce: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas, pages 67-92 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Guillermina Jasso & Douglas S. Massey & Mark R. Rosenzweig & James P. Smith, 2004. "The New Immigrant Survey Pilot (NIS-P): Overview and New Findings about U.S. Legal Immigrants at Admission," Labor and Demography 0403002, EconWPA.
  9. James P. Smith, 2003. "Assimilation across the Latino Generations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 315-319, May.
  10. Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Morrison Piehl, 1998. "Recent Immigrants: Unexpected Implications for Crime and Incarceration," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(4), pages 654-679, July.
  11. George J. Borjas, 1994. "Long-Run Convergence of Ethnic Skill Differentials: The Children and Grandchildren of the Great Migration," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(4), pages 553-573, July.
  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 410-42, June.
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