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The occupational assimilation of Hispanics in the U.S.: evidence from panel data

  • Maude Toussaint-Comeau
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    This study investigates whether Hispanic immigrants assimilate in occupational status with natives and the factors that determine occupational status. A theoretical framework is proposed that models occupational status and convergence of Hispanics relative to U.S.-born non-Hispanics as a function of human capital and demographic exogenous variables, U.S. experience (assimilation effects) and periods of migration (cohort effects). In addition, the model also controls for aggregate economic conditions and location effects. The empirical testing is based on a random effects model estimation procedure to accommodate the longitudinal PSID panel data used in the analysis. The results suggest that length of time resided in the U.S. narrows the occupational gap between Hispanic immigrants and non- Hispanic Whites and U.S.- born Hispanic counterparts. ; The level of individuals’ human capital affects the rate of occupational mobility and determines whether convergence occurs in occupational status. Mexican immigrants with low human capital start in occupations with relatively low status and they do not experience much occupational mobility. Their occupational status does not converge with that of non-Hispanic or U.S.-born Hispanic counterparts. However, Mexican immigrants with high human capital experience occupational mobility, and catch up with non-Hispanic Whites after 15 years and with U.S.-born Hispanics after 10 years of working in the U.S.

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    Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-04-15.

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    Date of creation: 2004
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-04-15
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    1. Brian P. McCall, 1988. "Occupational Matching: A Test of Sorts," Working Papers 617, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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    4. Green, David A, 1999. "Immigrant Occupational Attainment: Assimilation and Mobility over Time," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 49-79, January.
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    9. Morales, Rebecca & Ong, Paul M., 1990. "Immigrant Women in Los Angeles," Institute for Social Science Research, Working Paper Series qt52d1c4hh, Institute for Social Science Research, UCLA.
    10. Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326, February.
    11. Pia M. Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2003. "Does immigration affect wages? A look at occupation-level evidence," FRB Atlanta Working Paper No. 2003-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    12. Chiswick, Barry R. & Lee, Yew Liang & Miller, Paul W., 2002. "Longitudinal Analysis of Immigrant Occupational Mobility: A Test of the Immigrant Assimilation Hypothesis," IZA Discussion Papers 452, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    14. Bartel, Ann P, 1989. "Where Do the New U.S. Immigrants Live?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 371-91, October.
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