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The Effect of Literacy on Immigrant Earnings

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  • Ana Ferrer
  • David A. Green
  • W. Craig Riddell

Abstract

We examine the impact of literacy on immigrant earnings and the sources of lower returns to education and experience among immigrants. We find that the native-born literacy distribution dominates that for immigrants. However, the two groups obtain similar returns to literacy skills, contrary to discrimination-based explanations for immigrant—native-born earnings differentials. Among the university-educated, literacy differences account for about two-thirds of the earnings gap. However, low returns to foreign experience have a larger impact on this differential. Among the less educated, literacy differences and differences in the returns to experience have similar effects on the earnings differential.

Suggested Citation

  • Ana Ferrer & David A. Green & W. Craig Riddell, 2006. "The Effect of Literacy on Immigrant Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(2).
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:41:y:2006:i:2:p380-410
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Garry F. Barrett & Stephen G. Donald, 2003. "Consistent Tests for Stochastic Dominance," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 71-104, January.
    2. Abdurrahman Aydemir & Mikal Skuterud, 2005. "Explaining the deteriorating entry earnings of Canada's immigrant cohorts, 1966 - 2000," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(2), pages 641-672, May.
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