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On the Relative Gains to Immigration: A Comparison of the Labour Market Position of Indians in the USA, the UK and India

  • Jonathan Wadsworth
  • Augustin de Coulon

While most studies of the decision to immigrate focus on the absolute income differences between countries, we argue that relative change in purchasing power or status, as captured by an individual's ranking in the wage distribution, may also be important. This will in turn be influenced by differential levels of supply, demand and migration costs across the skill distribution and across countries. Using data on Indian immigrants in the United States and the UK matched to comparable data on individuals who remained in India, we show that the average Indian immigrant will experience a fall in their relative ranking in the wage distribution compared to the position they would have achieved had they remained in the origin country. The fall in relative rankings is larger for immigrants to the UK than to the US, and largest of all for those with intermediate skills.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0851.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0851
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. Bauer, Thomas & Pereira, Pedro Telhado & Vogler, Michael & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 1998. "Portuguese Migrants in the German Labour Market: Performance and Self-Selection," CEPR Discussion Papers 2047, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. Heather Antecol & Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Stephen J. Trejo, 2003. "Immigration Policy and the Skills of Immigrants to Australia, Canada, and the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(1).
  9. Adsera, Alicia & Chiswick, Barry R., 2004. "Are There Gender and Country of Origin Differences in Immigrant Labor Market Outcomes across European Destinations?," IZA Discussion Papers 1432, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Dustmann, Christian & Fabbri, Francesca, 2000. "Language Proficiency and Labour Market Performance of Immigrants in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 156, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Kristin F. Butcher & John Dinardo, 2002. "The Immigrant and Native-Born Wage Distributions: Evidence from United States Censuses," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(1), pages 97-121, October.
  12. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1998. "Comparison-concave utility and following behaviour in social and economic settings," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 133-155, October.
  13. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A, 1993. "Immigrant Selectivity and Wages: The Evidence for Women," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 986-93, September.
  14. Heather Antecol & Peter Kuhn & Stephen Trejo, 2006. "Assimilation via Prices or Quantities? Sources of Immigrant Earnings Growth in Australia, Canada and the United States," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0603, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  15. Borjas, George J., 1999. "The economic analysis of immigration," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1697-1760 Elsevier.
  16. Antecol, Heather & Kuhn, Peter J. & Trejo, Stephen, 2003. "Assimilation via Prices or Quantities? Labor Market Institutions and Immigrant Earnings Growth in Australia, Canada, and the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 802, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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