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Gender, Comparative Advantage and Labour Market Activity in Immigrant Families

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  • Deborah Cobb-Clark
  • Thomas Crossley

Abstract

The family investment hypothesis that credit-constrained immigrant families adopt a household strategy for financing post-migration human capital investment in which the partner with albour market comparative advantage engages ininvestment activities and the other partner undertakes labor market activities which finance current consumption. We assess this hypothesis by focussing on two issues: first, the extent to which the specialization in the investing versus financing role is based on comparative advantage versus gender, and the second, the extent to which credit constraints offer a potential explanation for observed behaviour. Using a unique new Australian data set we find that comparative advantage and gender can be separately identified in migrating families. We find some support for the family investment hypothesis among traditional families (where labor market comparative advantage resides with the male partner) but not among nontraditional families.
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Suggested Citation

  • Deborah Cobb-Clark & Thomas Crossley, 2001. "Gender, Comparative Advantage and Labour Market Activity in Immigrant Families," CEPR Discussion Papers 433, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:433
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    File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/cepr/DP433.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Christopher Worswick, 1996. "Immigrant Families in the Canadian Labour Market," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 22(4), pages 378-396, December.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Reimers, Cordelia W, 1985. "Cultural Differences in Labor Force Participation among Married Women," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 251-255, May.
    6. Christopher Worswick, 1999. "Credit Constraints and the Labour Supply of Immigrant Families in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 32(1), pages 152-170, February.
    7. Harriet Orcutt Duleep & Seth Sanders, 1993. "The Decision to Work by Married Immigrant Women," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(4), pages 677-690, July.
    8. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Connolly, Marie D. & Worswick, Christopher, 2001. "The Job Search and Education Investments of Immigrant Families," IZA Discussion Papers 290, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1997. "The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Labor-Market Activity: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 705-727, September.
    10. Charles M. Beach & Christopher Worswick, 1993. "Is There a Double-Negative Effect on the Earnings of Immigrant Women?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 19(1), pages 36-53, March.
    11. Antecol, Heather, 2000. "An examination of cross-country differences in the gender gap in labor force participation rates," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 409-426, July.
    12. Deborah Cobb-Clark & Marie D. Connolly & Christopher Worswick, 2001. "The Job Search and Investments of Immigrant Families," CEPR Discussion Papers 432, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    13. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-553, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mahmood, Talat & Schömann, Klaus, 2009. "The decision to migrate: A simultaneous decision making approach," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Competition and Innovation SP II 2009-17, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    2. Talat Mahmood & Klaus Schömann, 2003. "On the Migration Decision of Indian IT-Graduates: An Empirical Analysis," CIG Working Papers SP II 2003-23, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
    3. Talat Mahmood & Klaus Schömann, 2002. "The Determinants of the Migration Decision of IT-graduates from Pakistan: Empirical Evidence for the Design of a German "Green Card"," CIG Working Papers FS IV 02-03a, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
    4. Christian Dustmann & Francesca Fabbri, 2005. "Gender and Ethnicity--Married Immigrants in Britain," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 462-484, Autumn.
    5. Christian Dustmann & Francesca Fabbri, 2005. "Gender and Ethnicity – Married Immigrants in Britain," CESifo Working Paper Series 1598, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Talat Mahmood & Klaus Schömann, 2003. "On the Migration Decision of IT-Graduates: A Two-Level Nested Logit Model," CIG Working Papers SP II 2003-22, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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