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The Assimilation of Immigrants in the U. S. Labor Market

In: Immigration and the Workforce: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas

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  • Robert J. LaLonde
  • Robert H. Topel

Abstract

This paper reassesses the evidence on the assimilation and the changing labor market skills of immigrants to the United States. We find strong evidence of labor market assimilation for most immigrant groups. For Asian and Mexican immigrants the first ten years experience in the united States raise earnings by more than 20 percent. Further, this estimate may understate the actual rate of assimilation because of the sharp decline in the relative wages of unskilled U.S. workers. We also find little evidence of declining immigrant "quality" within ethnic groups. The diminished labor market skills of new immigrants result entirely from changes in the immigrants' countries of origin.
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Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:6906
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1990. "Empirical Age-Earnings Profiles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(2), pages 202-229, April.
    2. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
    3. Borjas, George J, 1985. "Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 463-489, October.
    4. Robert J. LaLonde & Robert H. Topel, 1991. "Labor Market Adjustments to Increased Immigration," NBER Chapters,in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 167-199 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. 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 410-442, June.
    6. repec:fth:prinin:268 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Kristin F. Butcher, 1994. "Black Immigrants in the United States: A Comparison with Native Blacks and other Immigrants," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(2), pages 265-284, January.
    8. Kristin Butcher, 1990. "Black Immigrants to the United States: A Comparison with Native Blacks and Other Immigrants," Working Papers 648, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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