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Agricultural Employment Patterns of Immigrant Workers in the United States

Author

Listed:
  • Cairns, Jennifer
  • Smart, Francis
  • Kandel, William
  • Zahniser, Steven

Abstract

Despite of the important role international migration fills in the United States’ labor-intensive agricultural sector, few studies have addressed the individual characteristics and circumstances surrounding entry and exit by farm laborers. With increasing public attention on international migrant labor, policymakers have a need to understand the labor market patterns of these workers if they are to formulate appropriate immigration reforms, including temporary worker programs geared towards agriculture. In this analysis, we model the likelihood of entering agricultural employment by migrants to the United States. Using data from the Mexican Migration Project we find that migrants with higher levels of education and a greater command of English are less likely to work as agricultural laborers. Those that do enter agricultural occupation stay in the United States for shorter periods of time per trip than those who enter non-agricultural occupation. In future analysis we will attempt to model the demand for agricultural farm work as a determinant of the decision by migrants to enter the U.S. market for hired farm labor.

Suggested Citation

  • Cairns, Jennifer & Smart, Francis & Kandel, William & Zahniser, Steven, 2010. "Agricultural Employment Patterns of Immigrant Workers in the United States," 2010 Annual Meeting, July 25-27, 2010, Denver, Colorado 61327, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea10:61327
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.61327
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    File URL: https://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/61327/files/5_2_2010.pdf
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