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Gender and Ethnicity – Married Immigrants in Britain

  • Christian Dustmann
  • Francesca Fabbri

In this paper we investigate the economic activity of married or cohabiting female immigrants in Britain. We distinguish between two immigrant groups: foreign-born females who belong to an ethnic minority group and their husbands, and foreign-born white females and their husbands. We compare these to native-born white women and their husbands. Our analysis deviates from the usual mean analysis and investigates employment, hours worked and earnings for males and females, as well as their combined family earnings, along the distribution of husbands’ economic potential. We analyse the extent to which economic disadvantage may be reinforced at the household level and investigate to what extent it can be explained by differences in observable characteristics. We find that white female immigrants and their husbands have an overall advantage in earnings over white native born, both individually and at the household level. Minority immigrants do less well, in particular at the lower end of the husband’s economic potential distribution. This is mainly due to the low employment of both genders, which leads to a disadvantage in earnings, intensified at the household level. Only part of this differential can be explained by observable characteristics.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1598.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1598
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  1. Dustmann, Christian & Schmidt, Christoph M, 2001. "The Wage Performance of Immigrant Women: Full-Time Jobs, Part-Time Jobs and the Role of Selection," CEPR Discussion Papers 2702, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Robert F. Schoeni, 1998. "Labor market assimilation of immigrant women," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(3), pages 483-504, April.
  3. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Crossley, Thomas F., 2001. "Gender, Comparative Advantage and Labor Market Activity in Immigrant Families," IZA Discussion Papers 293, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M, 1997. "Wage Inequality and Family Labor Supply," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 72-97, January.
  5. 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.
  6. Gregg, Paul & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2001. " Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Measuring Worklessness and Polarization at the Household Level but Were Afraid to Ask," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(0), pages 777-806, Special I.
  7. Christian Dustmann & Francesca Fabbri, 2005. "Immigrants in the British labour market," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 26(4), pages 423-470, December.
  8. 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.
  9. Christian Dustmann & Francesca Fabbri, 2003. "Language proficiency and labour market performance of immigrants in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(489), pages 695-717, 07.
  10. 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 463-89, October.
  11. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn & Joan Y. Moriarty & Andre Portela Souza, 2002. "The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Labor-Market Activity: Evidence from the United States," NBER Working Papers 9051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Andrew Dilnot & Michael Kell, 1987. "Male unemployment and women's work," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 8(3), pages 1-16, August.
  13. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn & Joan Y. Moriarty & Andre Portela Souza, 2003. "The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Labor-Market Activity: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 429-447, March.
  14. Barry T. Hirsch & Edward J. Schumacher, 2004. "Match Bias in Wage Gap Estimates Due to Earnings Imputation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 689-722, July.
  15. Lee Lillard & James P. Smith & Finis Welch, 2004. "What Do We Really Know About Wages: The Importance of Nonreporting and Census Imputation," Labor and Demography 0404005, EconWPA.
  16. Long, James E, 1980. "The Effect of Americanization on Earnings: Some Evidence for Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 620-29, June.
  17. 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 705-27, September.
  18. Marco Manacorda, 2004. "Can the Scala Mobile Explain the Fall and Rise of Earnings Inequality in Italy? A Semiparametric Analysis, 19771993," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 585-614, July.
  19. Xin Meng & Robert G. Gregory, 2005. "Intermarriage and the Economic Assimilation of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 135-176, January.
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