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Why Is the Payoff to Schooling Smaller for Immigrants?

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  • Chiswick, Barry R.

    () (George Washington University)

  • Miller, Paul W.

    (Curtin University)

Abstract

This paper is concerned with why immigrants appear to have consistently lower partial effects of schooling on earnings than the native born, both across destinations and in different time periods within countries. It uses the Over-Under-Required education approach to occupations, a new decomposition technique developed especially for this approach, and data from the 2000 Census of the United States. Based on the average (mean or mode) level of schooling in their occupation, the schooling of the native and foreign born adult men is divided into the "required" (average) level, and years of under- or overeducation. Immigrants have a wider variance in schooling, with an especially large proportion undereducated given the average schooling level in their occupation. Immigrants are shown to receive approximately the same rate of return to the "required" (occupational norm) level of education, but experience a smaller negative effect of years of undereducation, and to a lesser extent a small positive effect of overeducation. About two-thirds of the smaller effect of schooling on earnings for immigrants is due to their different payoffs to undereducation and overeducation. The remainder is largely due to their different distribution of years of schooling. The country-of-origin differences in the returns to under- and overeducation are consistent with country differences in the international transferability of skills to the US and the favorable selectivity of economic migrants, especially those from countries other than the English-speaking developed countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2005. "Why Is the Payoff to Schooling Smaller for Immigrants?," IZA Discussion Papers 1731, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1731
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2007. "The International Transferability of Immigrants’ Human Capital Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 2670, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Barry Chiswick, 2003. "Jacob Mincer, Experience and the Distribution of Earnings," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 343-361, December.
    3. Hartog, Joop, 2000. "Over-education and earnings: where are we, where should we go?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 131-147, April.
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    12. Richard R. Verdugo & Naomi Turner Verdugo, 1989. "The Impact of Surplus Schooling on Earnings: Some Additional Findings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(4), pages 629-643.
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    17. 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).
    18. Richard Fry & B. Lindsay Lowell, 2003. "The Value of Bilingualism in the U.S. Labor Market," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(1), pages 128-140, October.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    earnings; schooling; rates of return; occupations; immigrants; selectivity;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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