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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. Robert J. LaLonde & Robert H. Topel, 1990. "The Assimilation of Immigrants in the U.S. Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 3573, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. George J. Borjas, 1994. "Long-Run Convergence of Ethnic Skill Differentials," NBER Working Papers 4641, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Katz, L.F. & Murphy, K.M., 1991. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1580, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. 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.
  8. Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Morrison Piehl, 1998. "Recent immigrants: Unexpected implications for crime and incarceration," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(4), pages 654-679, July.
  9. James P. Smith, 2003. "Assimilation across the Latino Generations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 315-319, May.
  10. Brian Duncan & Stephen J. Trejo, 2007. "Ethnic Identification, Intermarriage, and Unmeasured Progress by Mexican Americans," NBER Chapters, in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 229-268 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Kristin F. Butcher & John Dinardo, 2002. "The Immigrant and Native-Born Wage Distributions: Evidence from United States Censuses," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(1), pages 97-121, October.
  12. Guillermina Jasso & Douglas Massey & Mark Rosenzweig & James Smith, 2000. "The new immigrant survey pilot (NIS-P): Overview and new findings about U.S. Legal immigrants at admission," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 127-138, February.
  13. Kristin F. Butcher & John DiNardo, 1998. "The Immigrant and Native-born Wage Distributions: Evidence from United States Censuses," NBER Working Papers 6630, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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