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First and Second Generation Immigrant Educational Attainment and Labor Market Outcomes: A Comparison of the United States and Canada

  • Aydemir, Abdurrahman

    ()

    (Sabanci University)

  • Sweetman, Arthur

    ()

    (McMaster University)

The educational and labor market outcomes of the first, first-and-a-half, second and third generations of immigrants to the United States and Canada are compared. These countries’ immigration flows have large differences in source countries, scale and timing, and Canada has a much larger policy emphasis on skilled workers. Following from these, the educational attainment of US immigrants is currently lower than that in Canada and the intergenerational transmission of education is expected to cause the gap to grow. This in turn influences earnings. Controlling only for age, the current US second generation has earnings comparable to those of the third, while earnings are higher for the second generation in Canada. Interestingly, the positive wage gap in favour of first-and-a-half and second generation immigrants in Canada is exceeded by the gap in educational attainment, but a lower immigrant rate of return attenuates education’s impact. Moreover, observable characteristics explain little of the difference in earnings outcomes across generations in the US but their introduction into an earnings equation causes the Canadian second generation premium to switch signs and become negative relative to the third.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2298.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Research in Labor Economics, 2007, 27, 215-270
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2298
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  1. George J. Borjas, 1991. "Immigration Policy, National Origin, and Immigrant Skills: A Comparison of Canada and the United States," NBER Working Papers 3691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Chiswick, Barry R. & DebBurman, Noyna, 2004. "Educational attainment: analysis by immigrant generation," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 361-379, August.
  3. Abdurrahman Aydemir & Mikal Skuterud, 2004. "Explaining the Deteriorating Entry Earnings of Canada’s Immigrant," Labor and Demography 0409006, EconWPA.
  4. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1994. "The Performance of Immigrants in the Canadian Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(3), pages 369-405, July.
  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. Abdurrahman Aydemir & Mikal Skuterud, 2005. "Explaining the deteriorating entry earnings of Canada's immigrant cohorts, 1966 - 2000," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(2), pages 641-672, May.
  7. Joseph Schaafsma & Arthur Sweetman, 2001. "Immigrant earnings: age at immigration matters," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1066-1099, November.
  8. Aydemir, Abdurrahman & Chen, Wen-Hao & Corak, Miles, 2006. "Intergenerational Earnings Mobility among the Children of Canadian Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 2085, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Chiswick, Barry R, 1988. "Differences in Education and Earnings across Racial and Ethnic Groups: Tastes, Discrimination, and Investments in Child Quality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(3), pages 571-97, August.
  10. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2007. "Gender and Assimilation Among Mexican Americans," NBER Chapters, in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 57-106 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul W, 1985. "Immigrant Generation and Income in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 61(173), pages 540-53, June.
  12. Peter Kuhn & Arthur Sweetman, 2002. "Aboriginals as unwilling immigrants: Contact, assimilation and labour market outcomes," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 331-355.
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