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Immigration Policy, National Origin, and Immigrant Skills: A Comparison of Canada and the United States

In: Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States

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  • George J. Borjas

Abstract

Over 12 million persons migrated to Canada or the United States between 1959 and 1981. Beginning in the mid?1960s, the immigration policies of the two countries began to diverge considerably: the United States stressing family reunification and Canada stressing skills. This paper shows that the point system used by Canada generated, on average, a more skilled immigrant flow than that which entered the United States. This skill gap, however, is mostly attributable to differences in the national origin mix of the immigrant flows admitted by the two countries. In effect, the point system "works" because it alters the national origin mix of immigrant flows, and not because it generates a more skilled immigrant flow from a given source country.
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Suggested Citation

  • George J. Borjas, 1993. "Immigration Policy, National Origin, and Immigrant Skills: A Comparison of Canada and the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States, pages 21-44, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11144
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. George J. Borjas, 1992. "National Origin and the Skills of Immigrants in the Postwar Period," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration and the Work Force: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas, pages 17-48, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    3. Abowd, John M. & Freeman, Richard B. (ed.), 1991. "Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226000954, December.
    4. George J. Borjas, 2021. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Foundational Essays in Immigration Economics, chapter 4, pages 69-91, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    5. Michael G. Abbott & Charles M. Beach, 1987. "Immigrant Earnings Differentials and Cohort Effects in Canada," Working Paper 705, Economics Department, Queen's University.
    6. McWatters, C.G. & Beach, C.M., 1989. "The Changes Behind Canada's Income Distribution: Cause for Concern?," Papers 1989-1, Queen's at Kingston - Sch. of Indus. Relat. Papers in Industrial Relations.
    7. Monica Boyd, 1976. "Immigration policies and trends: A comparison of Canada and the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 13(1), pages 83-104, February.
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